Introduction The tobacco industry now aggressively targets women in order to increase its consumer base, since fewer women than men use tobacco all over the world. In response to the call by the WHO for more research aimed at understanding tobacco use among women, this study examined associations between history of domestic violence and current tobacco use among women of reproductive age.
Methods Data from the 2008 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), a nationally representative cross sectional survey of 33 385 women aged 15–49 was analysed. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess associations between domestic violence and tobacco use.
Results Only 0.9% of women were current users of tobacco in any form. Of these, 0.5% used snuff, 0.2% used cigarettes, 0.1% used chewing tobacco while 0.1% smoked pipes. The odds of tobacco use increased with experiences of severe physical violence [OR=2.9; 95% CI 2.2 to 3.9] and sexual violence [OR=2.9; 95% CI 2.0 to 4.1] but not with emotional violence. Those women who had also been hurt physically by a former partner had higher odds of current tobacco use [OR=5.2; 95% CI 2.1 to 12.8]. Interestingly women who used tobacco had more often also physically hurt their husbands even when the husbands were not hurting them [OR=2.2; 95% CI 1.3 to 3.8].
Conclusion Experiencing violence affects the psychological health status and may explain susceptibility to tobacco use in women. In the spirit of World No Tobacco Day 2010 tobacco control strategies must recognise the psychosocial environment of tobacco users and also address domestic violence for sustained impact.
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