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Tobacco smoking prevalent in Zambian males: Observations from the Zambia Demographic Health Survey 2013-2014

Flavia Nalule Muyinza
Pawel Olowski
Charles Michelo


Background: Tobacco smoking is one of the biggest public health threats causing poverty, several illnesses and death. Previous studies found that the lower the education, the higher the risk of smoking. This study assessed the association between education attainment and smoking among participants of the Zambia Demographic Health Survey 2013-2014.
Methodology: This was a population-based crosssectional study. Secondary data was extracted from existing Zambia Demographic Health Survey 2013-2014 data sets, from ten provinces in comparison with different variables to constitute a resultant data set which this study used. All successfully interviewed male and female participants who answered the question, “Do you currently smoke cigarettes?” or “Do you currently smoke or use any other type of tobacco?” were included. The data extraction form was used to extract values of dependent and independent variables and imported into statistical analysis tool Stata version 13. Descriptive statistics of individual characteristics, testing for associations using the Pearson's Chi Square test and logistic regression were  performed.
Results: Overall there were 14773 men and 16411women with mean age of 15-19. Smoking prevalence was 9.9% overall and 20.4% in men, but 0.5% in women. The incidence of tobacco smoking is steadily increasing with increase in age among both men and women. There was a significant increase in the incidence of smoking between 20-24 and 25-29 particularly in male smokers. Higher socioeconomic status seems to have a protective effect, consequently smoking remains highest among poor individuals and lowest among the rich. Higher education groups had a decreased likelihood to smoke with an odds ratio of 0.5 overall, 0.2 in men and 0.1 in women.
Conclusions: We report high and unchanging prevalence of smoking predominantly concentrated in rural adult populations with lower education attainment. This suggests past health promotion efforts that targeted whole population may not have been relevant to the most affected groups. This therefore calls for reshaping health promotion messages to target specific populations and settings
with highest burden. Furthermore, this calls for additional explorative studies in order to examine reasons for smoking in lower  educated groups including exploring how what has worked in reducing smoking in higher educated groups could be extrapolated to most affected low educated and rural populations

Keywords: Smoking; Education; Prevalence; Determinants; Patterns; ZD