Journal article

Decomposition of socioeconomic inequalities in cigarette smoking: The case of Namibia

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Publication Details

Author list: Chisha Z, Nwosu CO, Ataguba J

Publisher: BMC (part of Springer Nature)

Publication year: 2019

Journal: International Journal for Equity in Health

Journal name: International Journal for Equity in Health

Volume number: 18

Issue number: 6

Start page: 1

End page: 9

Total number of pages: 9

ISSN: 1475-9276

eISSN: 1475-9276



Namibia has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world. Increased smoking prevalence, especially among the youth, may leave the country facing the spectre of higher smoking-related disease prevalence in the years to come. This study examines socioeconomic inequalities in smoking in Namibia and explores the drivers of this inequality.


Data are obtained from the Namibia 2013 Demographic and Health Survey, a nationally representative survey. Concentration curves and indices are calculated for cigarette smoking prevalence and intensity to assess the respective inequalities. Smoking intensity is defined as the number of cigarette sticks smoked within the last 24 h before the survey. We use a decomposition technique to identify the contribution of various covariates to socioeconomic inequalities in smoking prevalence and intensity.


The concentration indices for socioeconomic inequality in cigarette smoking prevalence and smoking intensity are estimated at 0.021 and 0.135, respectively. This suggests that cigarette smoking is more prevalent among the wealthy and that they smoke more frequently compared to less wealthy Namibians. For smoking intensity, the biggest statistically significant contributors to inequality are marital status, wealth and region dummy variables while for smoking prevalence, education and place of dwelling (urban vs rural) are the main contributors.


While overall inequality in smoking prevalence and intensity is focused among the wealthy, the contribution of region of residence and education warrant some attention from policy makers. Based on our results, we suggest an assessment of compliance and enforcement of the Tobacco Products Control Act, that initially focuses on regions with reportedly low education statistics followed by an appropriate implementation strategy to address the challenges identified in implementing effective tobacco control interventions.


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decomposition, Inequality

Last updated on 2019-04-12 at 15:25