Socioeconomic Inequality in Tobacco use in Kenya: A Concentration Analysis

from Health Economics at on July 30, 2018 at 10:43PM

Tobacco use is one of the four major risk factors for non-communicable diseases and its effect on health is well documented. Despite several policies adopted to curb tobacco use, African countries are experiencing the highest growth of tobacco use amongst developing countries. There is ample evidence in the literature about the factors influencing tobacco use among adults and youths in Africa. However, in Africa there is yawning evidence gap on the socioeconomic inequalities in tobacco use. This paper attempts to fill this gap by assessing and exploring socioeconomic inequalities in tobacco use in Kenya. Using the theory of fundamental causes, a rich data set-Global Adult Tobacco Survey, and concentration index, we investigate the determinants of tobacco use in Kenya, and whether tobacco use evenly affect the poor and rich. Our results suggest that there is a strong link between tobacco use and socioeconomic inequality. Overall, the poorer households are more affected by tobacco use than richer households and this socioeconomic inequality is more evident among poorer Kenyan men, and poorer Kenyan households living in urban areas. The decomposition of the concentration index indicates that the overall socioeconomic inequality for current tobacco smokers is explained by 40.317% of the household income. This confinement of tobacco use among the poorest in Kenya could be reduced by increasing taxes on tobacco products.