BACKGROUND: National smoking cessation strategies in Nigeria are hindered by lack of up-to-date epidemiologic data. We aimed to estimate prevalence of tobacco smoking in Nigeria to guide relevant interventions.
METHODS: We conducted systematic search of publicly available evidence from 1990 through 2018. A random-effects meta-analysis and meta-regression epidemiologic model were employed to determine prevalence and number of smokers in Nigeria in 1995 and 2015.
RESULTS: Across 64 studies (n = 54,755), the pooled crude prevalence of current smokers in Nigeria was 10.4% (9.0-11.7) and 17.7% (15.2-20.2) for ever smokers. This was higher among men compared to women in both groups. There was considerable variation across geopolitical zones, ranging from 5.4% (North-west) to 32.1% (North-east) for current smokers, and 10.5% (South-east) to 43.6% (North-east) for ever smokers. Urban and rural dwellers had relatively similar rates of current smokers (10.7 and 9.1%), and ever smokers (18.1 and 17.0%). Estimated median age at initiation of smoking was 16.8 years (IQR: 13.5-18.0). From 1995 to 2015, we estimated an increase in number of current smokers from 8 to 11 million (or a decline from 13 to 10.6% of the population). The pooled mean cigarettes consumption per person per day was 10.1 (6.1-14.2), accounting for 110 million cigarettes per day and over 40 billion cigarettes consumed in Nigeria in 2015.
CONCLUSIONS: While the prevalence of smokers may be declining in Nigeria, one out of ten Nigerians still smokes daily. There is need for comprehensive measures and strict anti-tobacco laws targeting tobacco production and marketing.