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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
VW and HB planned the study. YL collected and analysed the data and drafted the article. VW assisted with data analysis and interpretation, and revised the manuscript with HB. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was shown to effectively lower smoking prevalence in in high income countries, however knowledge for low and middle income settings is sparse. The objective of this study was to describe WHO MPOWER policy measures in thirteen West-African countries and to investigate their correlation with smoking prevalence.
Age-standardized smoking prevalence data and policy measures were collected from various WHO reports. For analysis MPOWER measures from 2008 and 2010, were combined with prevalence data from 2009 and 2011. Multiple linear regression models were set up.
In West-Africa mean smoking prevalence was approximately 20 % among males and approximately 3 % among females. Policy measures were mostly at a middle or low level. Regression analysis showed that tobacco cessation programs, health warnings on cigarettes, and higher price of cigarettes were negatively correlated with smoking prevalence. Significant effects were observed for only one policy measure (tobacco cessation programs) and only within the male population where smoking prevalence is generally higher.
Tobacco control policies are enforced at relatively low levels in West-African countries. However, improving tobacco control policy implementation according to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control should assist in the reduction of smoking prevalence in African countries, thereby counteracting pro-smoking initiatives set forth by the tobacco industry.