Open Access Open Badges Research article

The odd man out in Sub-Saharan Africa: understanding the tobacco use prevalence in Madagascar

Hadii M Mamudu1*, Rijo M John2, Sreenivas P Veeranki3 and Ahmed E Ogwell Ouma4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Services Management and Policy, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA

2 Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

3 Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA

4 Tobacco Control Division, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:856  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-856

Published: 17 September 2013



The tobacco industry has globalized and tobacco use continues to increase in low- and middle-income countries. Yet, the data and research to inform policy initiatives for addressing this phenomenon is sparse. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of adult tobacco use in 17 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries, and to identify key factors associated with adult tobacco consumption choices (smoked, smokeless tobacco and dual use) in Madagascar.


We used Demographic Health Survey for estimating tobacco use prevalence among adults in SSA. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to identify key determinants of adult tobacco consumption choices in Madagascar.


While differences in tobacco use exist in SSA, Madagascar has exceptionally higher prevalence rates (48.9% of males; 10.3% of females). The regression analyses showed complexity of tobacco use in Madagascar and identified age, education, wealth, employment, marriage, religion and place of residence as factors significantly associated with the choice of tobacco use among males, while age, wealth, and employment were significantly associated with that of females. The effects, however, differ across the three choices of tobacco use compared to non-use.


Tobacco use in Madagascar was higher than the other 16 SSA countries. Although the government continues to enact policies to address the problem, there is a need for effective implementation and enforcement. There is also the need for health education to modify social norms and denormalize tobacco use.

Madagascar; Tobacco use; Tobacco control; Tobacco industry; Sub-Saharan Africa