Tobacco advertising/promotions and adolescents’ smoking risk in Northern Africa

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Comprehensive tobacco advertising/promotion bans are effective against adolescent smoking but many developing countries have implemented only partial bans. This study examines the association between advertising/promotions exposure and adolescent cigarette smoking risk in North Africa, and possible mediation of this association by parent and peer smoking.


Adolescent data (n=12 329) from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey were analyzed (Libya, 2007; Egypt, 2005; Morocco, 2006; Tunisia 2007; and Sudan, 2005). Current smoking (any cigarette use in the past 30 days) and never-smokers' initiation susceptibility (composite of openness to accepting a cigarette from a friend and intention to start smoking in the next year) outcomes were examined. Advertising/promotion exposures included media and in-person contacts. Weighted univariate, bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted.


Current smoking prevalence ranged from 5.6% (Egypt) to 15.3% (Tunisia) among boys, and 1.1% (Libya and Egypt) to 2.0% (Morocco and Sudan) among girls. Initiation susceptibility ranged from 14.1% (Sudan) to 25.0% (Tunisia) among boys, and from 13.3% (Sudan) to 15.0% (Libya) among girls. Ninety-eight percent of adolescents reported exposure to at least one type of advertising/promotion. In multivariable analyses adjusting for demographics, each type of advertising/promotion was significantly and positively associated with boys' current smoking status; most advertising/promotion exposure types were also positively associated with initiation susceptibility among boys and girls. Peer smoking only partially mediated these associations.


Tobacco advertising/promotion exposure was highly prevalent and associated with adolescents' smoking risk in these countries. The comprehensiveness and enforcement of advertising/promotion bans needs to be enhanced.

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