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Prevalence and determinants of susceptibility to tobacco smoking among students in the Gambia

Jallow, Isatou K.; Britton, John; Langley, Tessa


Isatou K. Jallow

John Britton


Introduction: Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death, and kills about 7 million people annually. As smoking prevalence is falling in developed countries, tobacco businesses are turning to low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to generate new tobacco markets. To prevent young people from initiating smoking and becoming regular smokers it is important to understand the causes of susceptibility to smoking. In this study we report a nationwide survey of the prevalence and risk factors of smoking susceptibility among students aged 12-20 in The Gambia.

Methods: We used two-stage cluster random sampling to select students in secondary schools throughout The Gambia, and questionnaire to collect data on demographic characteristics and indicators on susceptibility to initiating smoking.

Results: Among the total sample of 10,289 students, 9831(96%; 55.6% girls and 44.4% boys, (aged 12-20 years) non-smokers were included in the analysis. Of these, 3,333 (33.9%) were found to be susceptible to smoking. Smoking susceptibility was more common among students attending grant-aided schools, non-Muslims, who had smoking allowed at home, had family members or friends who smoke, were sent to purchase cigarettes, had poor knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking, noticed point-of-sale tobacco advertisements and who had positive attitudes towards smoking.

Conclusions This study shows that susceptibility to smoking is common among students and associated with preventable exposures. Although based on cross-sectional data these findings suggest that raising students’ awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and reducing the prevalence of adult smoking, extending tobacco advertising restrictions to include point-of-sale, are all important to preventing the uptake of smoking among students.


Jallow, I. K., Britton, J., & Langley, T. (2019). Prevalence and determinants of susceptibility to tobacco smoking among students in the Gambia. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 21(8), 1113–1121.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 15, 2018
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2018
Publication Date Aug 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 28, 2018
Journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research
Print ISSN 1462-2203
Electronic ISSN 1469-994X
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 8
Pages 1113–1121
Keywords Susceptibility; Smoking; Tobacco; Students; Gambia
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Prevalence and Determinants of Susceptibility to Tobacco Smoking Among Students in The Gambia (243 Kb)

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