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Prevalence and risk factors for initiating alcohol and tobacco consumption in adolescents living in urban and rural Ethiopia

Getachew, Sefonias; Lewis, Sarah; Britton, John; Deressa, Wakgari; Fogarty, Andrew W.


Sefonias Getachew

Sarah Lewis

John Britton

Wakgari Deressa

Andrew W. Fogarty


© 2019 The Authors Objectives: African countries are potential high growth markets for the alcohol and tobacco industries. This study aimed to identify exposures that are associated with initiating use of alcohol and tobacco products in young people living in Ethiopia. As televised football and Internet viewing are media through which products can be promoted to this population efficiently, these risk factors were of particular interest. Study design: This is a cross-sectional study. Methods: Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire of 3967 children aged 13–19 years in 20 high schools in urban and rural Ethiopia on consumption and risk factors for alcohol and tobacco use in 2016, as well as exposure to potential sources of advertising. Results: Eight percent of respondents reported having ever smoked and 3% were current smokers. Twenty-nine percent reported ever having used alcohol, and 14% were current users. Risk factors for ever smoking included father smoking (odds ratio [OR] 1.95; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.21 to 3.15), mother smoking (OR 3.90; 95% CI: 1.63 to 9.33), best friend smoking (OR 5.86; 95% CI: 4.31 to 7.96) and home Internet access (OR 1.75; 95% CI: 1.35 to 2.27). There was a very strong positive association between ever having smoked cigarettes and ever having tried alcohol (P < 0.001). Risk factors for currently drinking alcohol included father drinking (OR 1.45; 95% CI: 1.05 to 2.01), mother drinking (OR 2.00; 95% CI: 1.44 to 2.77), home Internet access (OR 1.53; 95% CI: 1.24 to 1.90) and regular watching of televised football (OR 2.44 compared to those who do not; 95% CI: 1.58 to 3.78). Conclusions: As in rich countries, tobacco and alcohol use among Ethiopian teenagers increases among those exposed to family and peer use but are also more common among those accessing the Internet and, for alcohol, those watching televised football. The effect of watching televised football on alcohol use, at least, is likely to be due to exposure to advertising.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2019-09
Journal Public Health
Print ISSN 0033-3506
Electronic ISSN 1476-5616
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 174
Pages 118-126
APA6 Citation Getachew, S., Lewis, S., Britton, J., Deressa, W., & Fogarty, A. W. (2019). Prevalence and risk factors for initiating alcohol and tobacco consumption in adolescents living in urban and rural Ethiopia. Public Health, 174, 118-126.
Keywords Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health; General Medicine
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Prevalence and risk factors for initiating tobacco and alcohol consumption in adolescents living in urban and rural Ethiopia; Journal Title: Public Health; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The Royal Society for Public Health.


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