Introduction: Country-level evidence from Africa on the prevalence of tobacco use and the role played by both demographic and socioeconomic factors, as influences on the use of tobacco products, is sparse. This paper analyzes the determinants of tobacco use in Ghana and explores the association between tobacco use and poverty in the country.
Methods: Data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, a nationally representative survey of households (n = 12,323), were used to generate descriptive statistics and characterize tobacco use in the country. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate the relationships between tobacco use and age, place of residence, region, education status, wealth, marital status, alcohol use, and whether the person has children. Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios were calculated for tobacco users and nonusers on the likelihood of their purchase of selected commodities indicative of living standards.
Results: Tobacco use was significantly higher among those living in poverty stricken regions, those with less education, lower levels of wealth, parents, and alcohol users. Tobacco use was significantly higher among men (7%) than women (0.4%), and it increased to a peak age of 41.4 years before it declined. Using tobacco was also associated with a lower likelihood of purchasing health insurance.
Discussion: Tobacco use is inextricably related to poverty in Ghana. Policies should be formulated to target populations and regions with higher tobacco prevalence to combat both poverty and tobacco use simultaneously.