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Prevalence of Tobacco Use
in Kenya

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There has been a decrease in smoking prevalence rates in the country. In 2003, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among males (ages 15-49) was 22.6% (1,853,412 smokers) while in 2014 the prevalence stood at 15.8% (1,810,871 smokers).

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Tobacco use is more common among males (particularly males with no education or only a primary education), people aged 45 and above, and people living in the Eastern region (formerly Eastern province). Cessation efforts need to target these groups appropriately.

This page provides insights on the current prevalence of tobacco use by different sub-groups in the country. Current prevalence is defined as tobacco use in the past 30 days. The data are from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2014, the Kenya Global Adults Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2014

, the National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) 2019, studies on substance use among primary school pupils in Kenya, and the Global Youth Tobacco Surveys (GYTS) of 2001, 2007, and 2013.

In 2014, over 11% (2.5 million users) of Kenyans aged 15 and above used tobacco products. 

Prevalence of Tobacco Use in Kenya (15+), 2014


Source: GATS, 2014

Tobacco use (smoked and smokeless) was more prevalent among males, at 19.1% (2.0 million users), compared to 4.5% (504,264 users) for females. This disparity is common globally and reflects the social traditions in developing countries.

Despite the significant difference in prevalence, men and women were largely aware of the harmful effects of smoking. In fact, 92.9% of men and 92.7% of women recognized the link between smoking and serious disease.

Manufactured cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product at 6.9% (1,517,360 smokers).

11.6% of Kenyans use any type of tobacco product. While cigarettes  are the most commonly used product, the prevalence of smokeless products is 4.5% (988,840 users). These smokeless users include snuff users (by mouth and nose) at 4.4% (964,129 users) and betel quid and kuber users.  GATS findings further showed that of the current smokeless users, only 66.0% believed that the smokeless products caused serious illness. Conversely, 84.2% of non-users of smokeless products believed that smokeless products caused serious illness. 

*It is important to note that other products that have emerged in the market since 2014 are not reflected in the chart displayed. 

Prevalence of Tobacco Use Among Adults (Aged 15+) by Product, 2014

Smoke Manufactured CigarettesSmoke Hand Rolled CigarettesSnuff0%1%2%3%4%5%6%7%Prevalence6.93%2.13%4.41%

Source: GATS, 2014

The Eastern, Central and Coast provinces had the highest prevalence of tobacco use at 16.4%, 13.0% and 13.2% respectively.

Prevalence of Tobacco Use by Province (15-49), 2014

  • Tobacco Prevalence by Region|
  • 0% - 4.69%
  • 4.7% - 8.39%
  • 8.4% - 13.29%
  • 13.3% - 16.49%
  • |Regions where tobacco is grown