Global Epidemic



  • Almost 20 percent of Egyptians use tobacco.
  • Rates are much higher among men: 38 percent of men and 0.6 percent of women use some form of tobacco.
  • Among youth (age 13-15), 4 percent smoke cigarettes (boys 6 percent; girls 1 percent) and 10 percent use tobacco products other than cigarettes (boys 12 percent; girls 7 percent).
  • Common forms of tobacco used include cigarettes, shisha, and cigars.

Health Consequences

Tobacco use is deadly. Smoking kills up to half of all lifetime users.

  • 90 percent of all lung cancer cases in Egypt are due to tobacco use.
  • 44 percent of youth (age 13-15) are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places and 39 percent of youth are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.
  • Nearly 71 percent of the Egyptians allow smoking inside their homes and more than half (51 percent) report exposure to secondhand smoke on a weekly basis.
  • Almost 61 percent of all workers, who work indoors, are exposed to secondhand smoke at work. Nearly 59 percent of all these workers are non-smoking workers.
  • Among youth (age 13-15), 44 percent of youth are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places and 39 percent are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

Tobacco Industry

Eastern Company SAE is the sole manufacturer of cigarettes in the country and holds 83 percent of the total cigarette market. Philip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco (BAT) both contract with Eastern Company SAE to produce PMI and BAT cigarettes. In 2008, PMI had 11.5 percent of the cigarette market and BAT had almost 5 percent. In 2008, over 75 billion cigarettes were sold in Egypt.

FCTC Status

Egypt ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 25, 2005.

Tobacco Control Policy Status

Smoke Free Places: In Egypt, the tobacco control law prohibits smoking in the following specified public places: health and educational facilities, governmental venues, sporting and social clubs, and youth centers. Smoking is also prohibited on public transport. Under a separate environmental statute, smoking is restricted to specially designated areas in industrial establishments, tourism related establishments, and electricity production establishments. In addition to governmental tobacco control efforts, Nasr Farid Wasel, the then Grand Mufti of Egypt, issued a fatwa (a religious ruling) against tobacco smoking on September 5, 1999.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: In Egypt, many forms of tobacco advertising and promotion are banned. The law does not specifically ban tobacco sponsorship, nor does it use the term tobacco sponsorship. Because the terms “tobacco advertising and promotion” and “tobacco sponsorship” are not defined, it is difficult to determine the exact scope of the ban.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: The law requires two textual warnings that must be accompanied by a picture (of a heart, lung, or pregnancy) with additional relevant text. The picture and text should be rotated every six months. The warnings must occupy 50 percent of the front and back principal display areas. The law prohibits the use of the terms “light,” “low tar,” and “very low tar” on tobacco product packaging. However, the law does not prohibit the use of other misleading terms, descriptors, figures or other indicia that create an erroneous impression about the health effects of a tobacco product. The law does not require a qualitative statement on constituents and emissions, but instead requires that the quantities (figurative yields) of tar and nicotine be displayed on tobacco product packaging.

Tobacco Taxation and Prices: The World Health Organization recommends raising tobacco excise taxes so that they account for at least 70 percent of retail prices. Tobacco excise taxes in Egypt meet these recommendations.

Updated: April 2014