About the Tobacco Control Data Initiative


Over 7,000 Zambians die every year as a result of using tobacco in Zambia and 60% of these deaths accrue to those below 70 years of age.

Tobacco use imposes a cost of approximately US$ 165 million annually on the Zambian economy. This represents a mere fraction of the revenue from excise taxes on tobacco products.

Overall tobacco smoking prevalence is estimated at 13.2%, representing 23.6% and 3.3% for males and females respectively.

Zambia has the highest prevalence in the use of menthol cigarettes among 19 survey countries at 40% of all cigarette smokers. This is driven by a false perception of fewer health effects from menthol cigarettes. There is limited data on the prevalence in the use of shisha and snuff, locally referred to as “nsuko.” Tobacco control data in Zambia is scarce and incomprehensive with minimal disaggregation,  similarly to other African countries.

Although tobacco control data exist, they are usually only available in disparate sources (individual agencies, research institutions, private sector companies, or civil society organizations), and some are not easily accessible, which presents a challenge for tobacco control legislation. Some of the tobacco control themes that have emerged as priorities in Zambia include: tobacco harm, tobacco prevalence, tobacco industry interference, tobacco taxation, and illicit trade.


Development Gateway (DG), a non-governmental organisation that prioritises data for development, in partnership with the University of Cape Town’s Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP) is addressing exactly this problem by creating a website that collates and curates these disparate information sources. This portal is a product of the Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI) through a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It seeks to consolidate essential data and information collected through rigorous primary and secondary research. We are hopeful that this online resource will assist those involved in tobacco control in Zambia by providing quick and easy access to relevant data.

woman in a meeting

If you have access to relevant tobacco control data that you would like to share with the tobacco control community, please fill this form.

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The information displayed on this website is obtained from multiple sources and has undergone a rigorous verification process. Despite this effort, the accuracy and validity of data/information cannot be guaranteed. The website should therefore be used for guidance only. The TCDI team, and the authors whom we reference, cannot be held responsible for how the information is used. Data calculations and sources for the analyses used in this website are located here.