Global Epidemic

South Africa

Tobacco Consumption

  • 18.2 percent of adults (age 15+) in South Africa smoke cigarettes.1
  • Rates are much higher among men than among women: 29.4 percent of men and 8.2 percent of women smoke cigarettes.1
  • 6.5 percent of adults (age 16+) use smokeless tobacco (women 8.4 percent and men 1.4 percent).2
  • Among youth (ages 13-15), 21.5 percent use tobacco products (boys 24.3 percent and girls 19 percent), 12.7 percent smoke cigarettes (boys 15 percent and girls 10.8 percent), and 13.5 percent use smokeless tobacco (boys 14.4 percent and girls 12.6 percent).3

Secondhand Smoke Exposure

  • Among youth (ages 13-15), 39.3 percent are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places and 29 percent are exposed at home.3

Health Consequences

  • Every year more than 31,800 South Africans are killed by tobacco-caused diseases.4
  • Even though fewer men and women die on average in South Africa than in other middle-income countries, still 366 men and 245 women are killed by tobacco every week.4

Tobacco Industry

British American Tobacco (BAT) South Africa dominates the market at over 80 percent.

FCTC Status

South Africa ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on April 19, 2005. The treaty went into effect on July 18, 2005.

Tobacco Control Policy Status

For information regarding smoke-free places, advertising and promotion, and packaging and labeling, visit the Tobacco Control Laws website.

1 The South Africa National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1), 2012.
2 South African Social Attitude Survey, 2007; National.
3 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 2011; National.
4 Eriksen M et al The Tobacco Atlas, American Cancer Society (2015) based on Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 Results by Risk Factor 1990-2010. Seattle, United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 2012.

Last updated: January 2016