The Toll of Tobacco in South Africa | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Tobacco Consumption

  • Among adults (age 15+), 29.4% of South Africans are current tobacco users, including 41.7% of men and 17.9% of women. 1
    • 25.8% smoke tobacco products (41.2% of men and 11.5% of women).
    • 4.3% use smokeless tobacco products (1.1% of men and 7.2% of women).
  • Among youth (ages 13-15), 21.5% are current tobacco users (boys 24.3%; girls 19.0%)2
    • 12.7% smoke cigarettes (15.0% of boys and 10.8% of girls)
    • 13.5% use other tobacco products (14.4% of boys and 12.6% of girls)

Secondhand Smoke Exposure

  • 11.2% of adults (age 15+) who work indoors are exposed to secondhand smoke in enclosed areas at their workplace, 10.8% of adults are exposed in restaurants, and 18.0% inside their homes.1
  • 39.3% of youth (ages 13–15) in South Africa are around others who smoke in places outside their home, and 29.0% are exposed at home.2

Health Consequences

  • Over 39,000 South Africans die from tobacco-related diseases each year.3
  • About 10% of male deaths and 5% of female deaths are caused by tobacco (7.5% overall).3
  • Over 13% of non-communicable disease-related deaths (ex: ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes, COPD, lung cancer, etc.) in South Africa, are attributable to tobacco use.3

Tobacco Industry

British American Tobacco (BAT) dominates the cigarette market in South Africa, holding 63.3% of the market volume in 2021. Japan Tobacco Inc. (JTI) held 11.9% of the cigarette market by volume in 2021, followed by Philip Morris International (PMI) (9.7%), Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation (6.6%), and Carnilinx (3.9%). In South Africa, over 16.6 billion cigarettes were sold in 2021.4

FCTC Status

South Africa ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on April 19, 2005. The treaty went into effect on July 18, 2005.

Tobacco Control Policy Status

For a summary of measures on smoke-free places, advertising and promotion, packaging and labeling, and taxation and price, download the South Africa Tobacco Control Policy Status fact sheet. For more information visit the Tobacco Control Laws website.

1 South Africa Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2021. Available from:
2 South Africa Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2011: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011. Available from:
3 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019. Seattle, WA: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington; 2023. Available from:
4 Euromonitor International, 2022. Accessed April 2023

Last updated April 21, 2023