Cigarette purchase and accessibility among children in a developing country. A study among in-school youth in Lagos state, Nigeria
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College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
Submission date: 2015-11-10
Final revision date: 2016-02-25
Acceptance date: 2016-03-02
Publication date: 2016-03-15
Corresponding author
Oluwakemi Ololade Odukoya   

College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Ishaga road, 12003 Idi-araba, Nigeria
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2016;2(March):15
Tobacco use remains a significant public health challenge in many low and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. Cigarette accessibility drives experimentation and use. The objectives of this study were to assess the experiences of youth, regarding cigarette purchase and accessibility within their community. We were particularly interested in assessing their experiences with being sent on errands to purchase cigarettes by older persons within their community.

We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study among 899 in-school youth less than 18 years of age using a multi-stage sampling method. Data was collected using self-administered pre-tested questionnaire and analysed with SPSS 17.0.

Study participants had a mean age of 13.9 ±1.9 years with a roughly equal male to female ratio. More than a third (36.6%) had been sent on an errand, to purchase cigarettes by an older person within the past year (86.6% never smokers; 13.4% ever-smokers). Of these, majority admitted that they proceeded on the errand as directed. Persons responsible for sending the minors on errands to purchase cigarettes were primarily older friends and neighbours within the community. Of those who had been sent on such errands, about half (51.4%) feared that they could be punished if they disobeyed. While attempting to purchase cigarettes, 59.2% admitted that no one had ever inquired about their age. Within the past year, about a third (33.6%) had successfully purchased cigarettes for older persons within the community.

In implementing the national tobacco control policy, strategies to engage and educate the adults within the community must be prioritized.

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