The global tobacco epidemic contributes to more than 8 million deaths annually. However, most tobacco control interventions have been driven by an emphasis on smoked tobacco. Globally and more so in Nigeria, less attention has been paid to the similarly harmful smokeless tobacco (SLT) whose use appeals to a different demography. We examined the prevalence, patterns of use and correlates of SLT in Nigerian adults to guide targeted control efforts.
We conducted a secondary analysis of the 2012 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) data. We obtained data on 9,765 non-institutionalised adults aged 15 years and older. Variables included current SLT use, sociodemographic characteristics and perceived harm of SLT use. We used Chi-square test to examine associations and binary logistic regression to assess predictors of current SLT use. All analyses were conducted with sample-weighted data.
The prevalence of current SLT use was 1.9% of all adults. About 1.4% were daily users. The main types were snuff by nose (1.6%) and snuff by mouth (0.8%). There were higher odds of current SLT use for those in the South-East region (aOR = 13.99; 95% CI: 4.45–43.95), rural area residents (aOR = 1.56; 95% CI: 1.04–2.35), males (aOR = 4.43; 95% CI: 2.75–7.11), the 45–64 years age-group (aOR = 10.00; 95% CI: 4.12–24.29), those with no formal education (aOR = 2.67; 95% CI: 1.01–7.05), and those with no perception of harm from SLT use (aOR = 3.81, 95% CI: 2.61–5.56).
The prevalence of SLT use among Nigerian adults was low with clearly identified predictors. While a majority were aware of harm from SLT use, an unacceptably high proportion remain unaware. We recommended targeted interventions to increase awareness of the harmful effects of SLT use especially among residents of the South-East, those in rural areas, males, and individuals with no formal education. We also recommended a follow-up survey.