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Tobacco control research on the African continent: a 22-year literature review and network analysis
  1. Jenny E Twesten1,
  2. Chad Stecher2,
  3. Jim Arinaitwe3,
  4. Mark Parascandola4
  1. 1Bizzell Group, New Carrollton, Maryland, USA
  2. 2College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
  3. 3Center for Tobacco Control in Africa, Kampala, Uganda
  4. 4Center for Global Health, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mark Parascandola, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, USA; paramark{at}


Objective Describe the landscape of tobacco-related topics, funders and institutional networks in Africa.

Data sources We searched PubMed, Embase and African Index Medicus for published articles from January 1996 to August 2018 in any language.

Study selection Two researchers independently reviewed titles and abstracts for a focus on nicotine or tobacco product(s) and describe data or recommendations specific to Africa. Ultimately, 818 articles were identified.

Data extraction Three independent coders conducted qualitative analyses of articles and extracted funders, study populations, countries of research focus, research topics, tobacco products, study design and data source. A bibliometric analysis estimated coauthorship networks between the countries of authors’ primary institutional affiliation.

Data synthesis All 54 African countries were represented in two or more articles. The coauthorship network included 2714 unique authors representing 90 countries. Most articles employed a cross-sectional study design with primary data collection, focused on cigarettes and studied use behaviour. Few articles examined tobacco farming or interventions for cessation or prevention. The most frequently cited funder was the US National Institutes of Health (27.2%). A range of coauthorship patterns existed between African institutions with some coauthoring with one institution while others coauthored with 761 institutions in other African countries.

Conclusions The literature review identified the need for implementation research for tobacco control interventions and policies, economic and development impacts of tobacco use research, and tobacco industry and tobacco production and farming research. Numbers of research collaborations between institutions in Africa vary, suggesting the need for regional institutional capacity building.

  • tobacco industry
  • public policy
  • addiction
  • global health

Data availability statement

Data are available upon request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon request.

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the planning and conduct of the study and the analysis and interpretation of the results. JET led the coding of results and wrote the first draft of the paper. CS, JA and MP contributed to writing and revising drafts of the paper. MP acts as guarantor responsible for the overall content.

  • Funding This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract no. HHSN261201700004I and HHSN261201000043C.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.