Prevalence and correlates of roll-your-own cigarette smoking among South African adults during 2010–2011 and 2017–2018

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Prevalence and correlates of roll-your-own cigarette smoking among South African adults during 2010–2011 and 2017–2018

Globally, the use of roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes is increasing, but there is no recent data from South Africa, particularly among youths and low-income groups. This study examined changes in the prevalence and correlates of RYO smoking among South African adults During 2010-2011 and 2017-2018 and investigated expenditure differences between daily RYO and manufactured cigarette smokers. This study used data from the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) for 2010-2011 (n=6116) and 2017-2018 (n=5799) to examine a nationally representative sample of South Africans aged 16 years. Current RYO cigarette use included both daily and non-daily use. Annual expenditures were estimated using typical usage patterns for daily users. Stata Version 15 was used for descriptive and multivariable analyses, with the level of statistical significance set at p0.05.

The prevalence of ever RYO cigarette use increased from 6.5% (95% CI: 5.6–7.5) during 2010–2011, to 8.5% (95% CI: 7.0–10.0) during 2017–2018 (p=0.026). Current RYO cigarette use prevalence however remained largely unchanged when we compared 2010–2011 to 2017–2018 (5.2% vs 6.3%, p=0.544). During 2017–2018, current RYO cigarette use prevalence was highest among men (11.6%), those who self-identified as Coloreds (11.1%), people aged 25–34 years (7.8%), those with no schooling (7.5%), and those unemployed (9.8%). Annual expenditures associated with typical patterns of daily RYO cigarette smoking were substantially less than for smoking of manufactured cigarettes.

The study concludes that between 2010-2011 and 2017-2018, the prevalence of ever RYO cigarette use increased. During 2017-2018, Coloreds, Black Africans, youths, those with lower education, and the unemployed were more likely to use RYO cigarettes. The findings of this study highlight the importance of harmonizing the taxation of cigarettes and RYO cigarettes, as well as intensifying the implementation of evidence-based tobacco control and prevention interventions in South Africa.