The problem: tobacco data are not easily accessible

Tobacco use continues to harm individuals and communities. Tobacco products, when used as directed, will kill half of all users. More than 8 million users will die each year from tobacco – 7 million will die from direct exposure, while 1.2 million non-smokers will die due to exposure to secondhand smoke.

In South Africa, 19.4% of adults (aged 15+) smoked combustible cigarettes in 2017. Of these adults, approximately 5.4 million were men and 1.3 million were women. 

Although tobacco control data exist, they are usually only available in disparate sources (individual agencies, research institutions, private sector companies, or civil society organizations), and some are not easily accessible, which presents a challenge for tobacco control legislation. Some of the tobacco control themes that have emerged as priorities include: tobacco prevalence in South Africa, illicit trade, the health burden of tobacco use, the impact of existing and future policies, e-cigarettes, and tobacco agriculture.

The solution: a portal to aggregate and collect new & existing data

Development Gateway (DG), a non-governmental organisation that prioritises data for development, in partnership with the University of Cape Town’s Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP) is addressing exactly this problem by creating a website that collates and curates these disparate information sources. This portal is a product of the Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI) through a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It seeks to consolidate essential data and information collected through rigorous primary and secondary research. This website is neither affiliated with nor has received any funding from the tobacco industry. We are hopeful that this online resource will assist those involved in tobacco control in South Africa by providing quick and easy access to relevant data.

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“There is information in many places and collecting this information is time consuming. It would be useful to have information (in one location and) on a regular basis” – Government Representative

“[I] want everything in one place – that you can search for regarding different aspects of the bill (smoke free/advertising etc.) and it will show up with data or arguments” – Civil Society Representative

Showcase Your Work

If you have access to relevant tobacco control data that you would like to share with the tobacco control community, please fill this form.

Drag 'n' drop files here, or click select button to select files. The maximum file size allowed is 10MB.

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The information displayed on this website is obtained from multiple sources and has undergone a rigorous verification process. Despite this effort, the accuracy and validity of data/information cannot be guaranteed. The website should therefore be used for guidance only. The TCDI team, and the authors whom we reference, cannot be held responsible for how the information is used. Data calculations and sources for the analyses used in this website are located here.

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