Exploring Cigarette Use among Male Migrant Workers in Nigeria

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

2 Department of Community Health and Primary Care, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria

3 Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA


There is limited knowledge about the use of cigarettes by blacks outside the United States (U.S). Nigeria creates an opportunity to explore smoking behaviours, smoking cessation (nicotine dependence) and use of cigarettes in a country that has a large black population outside the U.S.
We conducted three Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) involving twenty-four male migrant workers who reported that they were current cigarette smokers. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed.
Four major themes namely: reasons for initiating and continuing to smoke cigarettes, factors affecting brand choice, barriers to quitting, effect of smoking mentholated cigarette brands were identified.
This study provides insight into the use of mentholated and non-mentholated cigarettes and suggests the need for further studies to explore smoking behavior among Nigerians.


Main Subjects

  1. Shafey O, Dolwick S, Guindon GE. Tobacco control country profiles. 2nd ed. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2003.
  2. Salawu F, Danburam A, Agbo J, Onye-eri K. Awareness of the risks of cigarette smoking among patients in northeast Nigeria. Sahel Medical Journal 2007; 10: 29-33. doi: 10.4314/smj2.v10i1.12927   
  3. Harries AD, Chugh KS, Neumann T.  Smoking habits and disease patterns amongst hospital patients in North-East Nigeria. J Trop Med Hyg 1986; 89: 37-41.
  4. Ayankogbe OO, Inem OA, Bamgbala OA, Robert OA. Attitudes and determinant of cigarette smoking among rural dwellers South West Nigeria. Nigeria Medical Practitioner 2003; 44: 70-4.
  5. Onadeko BO, Awotedu AA, Onadeko MO. Smoking patterns in students of higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. Afr J Med Med Sci 1987; 16: 9-14.
  6. Bandele EO, Osadiaye JA. Attitudes and smoking habits of physicians at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Natl Med Assoc 1987; 79: 430-2.
  7. Townsend L, Flisher AJ, Gilreath T, King G: A systematic literature review of tobacco use among adults 15 years and older in sub-Saharan Africa. Drug Alcohol Depend 2006; 84: 14-2. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2005.12.008
  8. Townsend L, Flisher AJ, Gilreath T, King G. A systematic review of tobacco use among sub-Saharan Africa youth. J Subst Use 2006; 11: 245-69. doi: 10.1080/14659890500420004
  9. World Health Organization (WHO). Tobacco or health: A global status report. Geneva: WHO; 1997.
  10. Ezzati M, Lopez AD. Regional, disease-specific patterns of smoking-attributable mortality in 2000. Tob Control 2004; 13: 388-95. doi: 10.1136/tc.2003.005215
  11. Eccles R. Menthol and related cooling compounds. J Pharm Pharmacol 1994; 46: 618-30. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1994.tb03871.x
  12. Eccles R. Role of cold receptors and menthol in thirst, the drive to breathe, and arousal. Appetite 2000; 34: 29-35. doi: 10.1006/appe.1999.0291
  13. Hebert JR, Kabat GC. Menthol cigarette smoking and esophageal cancer. Int J Epidemiol 1989; 18; 37-44. doi: 10.1093/ije/18.1.37
  14. Okuyemi KS, Faseru B, Sanderson Cox L, Bronars CA, Ahluwalia JS. Relationship between menthol cigarettes and smoking cessation among African American light smokers. Addiction 2007; 102: 1979-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.02010.x
  15. Giovino GA, Sidney S, Gfroerer JC, O’Malley PM, Allen JA, Richter PA, et al. Epidemiology of menthol cigarette use. Nicotine Tob Res 2004; 6: S67-81. doi: 10.1080/14622203710001649696
  16. Hyland A, Garten S, Cummings KM. Mentholated cigarettes and smoking cessation: findings from COMMIT (Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation). Tob Control 2002; 11: 135-9. doi: 10.1136/tc.11.2.135
  17. Okuyemi KS, Pulvers KM, Cox LG. Nicotine dependence among African American light smokers: A comparison of three scales. Addict Behav 2002; 32: 1989-2002. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2007.01.002f
  18. Gandhi KK, Foulds J, Steinberg MB, Lu SE, Williams JM.. Lower quit rates among African American and Latino menthol cigarette smokers at a tobacco treatment clinic. Int J Clin Pract 2009; 63: 360-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01969.x
  19. Miles M, Huberman AM. An Expanded Source Book Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage Publications; 1994.
  20. Kvale S. Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. London: Sage Publications; 1996.
  21. Patton MQ. How to Use Qualitative Methods in Evaluation. California: Sage Publications; 1987.
  22. Okuyemi KS, Caldwell AR, Thomas JL, Born W, Richter KP, Nollen N, et al. Homelessness and smoking cessation: Insights from focus groups. Nicotine Tob Res 2006; 8: 287-96. doi: 10.1080/14622200500494971
  23. Fu SS, Okuyemi KS, Partin MR, Ahluwalia JS, Nelson DB, Clothier BA, et al. Menthol cigarettes and smoking cessation during an aided quit attempt. Nicotine Tob Res 2008; 10: 457-62. doi: 10.1080/14622200801901914
  24. US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups ¾ African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 1998.
  25. Okuyemi KS1, Caldwell AR, Thomas JL, Born W, Richter KP, Nollen N, et al. Use of mentholated cigarettes: what can we learn from national data sets? Addiction 2010; 105: 1-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03239.x
  26. Sloan A, DeCort SC, Eccles R. Prolongation of breath-hold time following treatment with an l-menthol lozenge in healthy man. J Physiol 1993; 473: 53.