Smoking prevalence differs by location of residence among Ghanaians in Africa and Europe: The RODAM study

PLoS One. 2017 May 5;12(5):e0177291. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177291. eCollection 2017.


Background: Although the prevalence of smoking is low in Ghana, little is known about the effect of migration on smoking. Comparing Ghanaians living in their country of origin to those living in Europe offers an opportunity to investigate smoking by location of residence and the associations between smoking behaviours and migration-related factors.

Methods: Data on a relatively homogenous group of Ghanaians living in London (n = 949), Amsterdam (n = 1400), Berlin (n = 543), rural Ghana (n = 973) and urban Ghana (n = 1400) from the cross-sectional RODAM (Research on Obesity & Diabetes in African Migrants) study were used. Age-standardized prevalence rates of smoking by location of residence and factors associated with smoking among Ghanaian men were estimated using prevalence ratios (PR: 95% CIs).

Results: Current smoking was non-existent among women in rural and urban Ghana and London but was 3.2% and 3.3% in women in Amsterdam and Berlin, respectively. Smoking prevalence was higher in men in Europe (7.8%) than in both rural and urban Ghana (4.8%): PR 1.91: 95% CI 1.27, 2.88, adjusted for age, marital status, education and employment. Factors associated with a higher prevalence of smoking among Ghanaian men included European residence, being divorced or widowed, living alone, Islam religion, infrequent attendance at religious services, assimilation (cultural orientation), and low education.

Conclusion: Ghanaians living in Europe are more likely to smoke than their counterparts in Ghana, suggesting convergence to European populations, although prevalence rates are still far below those in the host populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Ghana / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Transients and Migrants*
  • Urban Population

Grants and funding

The RODAM study was funded by the European Commission under the Framework Programme (grant number: 278901). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.