Tobacco control in The Gambia: Strategies, results, and recommendations
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African Network for Information and Action Against Drug (RAID- The Gambia), Banjul, The Gambia
Publication date: 2023-10-08
Corresponding author
Kemo Conteh   

African Network for Information and Action Against Drug (RAID- The Gambia), Banjul, The Gambia
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement 2):A4
Recent studies have shown a decline in tobacco use among students aged 13 to 15 in The Gambia. However, previous research has revealed interesting findings regarding tobacco prevalence in different contexts. The STEPS Survey (2010), a national population-based survey, indicated an increase in tobacco use among Gambians aged 24 to 64. This survey found that 16.3% of adults in this age group reported tobacco use, with 15% being daily users. Daily tobacco use was higher among men, especially those aged 25-34 and 35-44, with an average consumption of ten cigarettes per day.

This study aims to assess the impact of tobacco control measures implemented in The Gambia and identify key lessons learned for future initiatives. The specific objectives are as follows: 1. Evaluate the effectiveness of government interventions and policies related to tobacco control. 2. Investigate the role of government-civil society relations, coordination, and media participation in achieving successful tobacco control outcomes. 3. Assess the importance of involving youth, women's groups, and religious leaders in tobacco control initiatives. 3. Examine the impact of increased taxes on tobacco consumption and public health improvement. 4. Highlight the significance of tobacco advocacy, sensitization, and awareness campaigns across all age groups.

This study will deploy a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative data analysis and qualitative assessments. Quantitative data was used to collect data through surveys to measure changes in tobacco use prevalence and compliance with tobacco control regulations. Qualitative methods, such as interviews and focus group discussions, was a explored perceptions and experiences related to tobacco control efforts in The Gambia. Additionally, existing literature and reports on tobacco control activities in The Gambia was reviewed as well.

The preliminary findings of this study indicate several key lessons learned in tobacco control and public health improvement: 1. Strong collaboration between the government and civil society is crucial for effective tobacco control. 2. Coordinated efforts among various stakeholders significantly contribute to successful outcomes. 3. Media participation plays a vital role in raising awareness and supporting tobacco control initiatives. 4. The involvement of youth, women's groups, and religious leaders is essential for effective tobacco control and public health campaigns. 5. Increased taxes on tobacco products are fundamental and necessary for reducing tobacco consumption. 6. Comprehensive advocacy, sensitization, and awareness campaigns are crucial for all age groups.

Based on the study's findings, the following conclusions and recommendations are proposed: 1. Enhance the capacity of tobacco control advocates, particularly civil society organizations, journalists, and health journalists, through training and workshops to ensure effective monitoring and control of tobacco. 2. Strengthen tobacco control advocacy efforts by utilizing evidence-based research and expertise. 3. Foster increased coordination among civil society tobacco control advocates, a multi-sectoral working group, and law enforcement bodies to ensure effective implementation of The Gambia's comprehensive tobacco control law. By implementing these recommendations, The Gambia can further advance its tobacco control efforts, leading to improved public health outcomes and a reduction in tobacco-related harm.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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