Stats South Africa (StatsSA) today released its South Africa Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS) 2016 Key Indicator Report, revealing the state of health and healthcare in the country and how locals take care of their bodies.

Data from the report was gathered from a survey conducted by StatsSA last year and among the data, a snapshot of smoking and drinking between women and men of different demographics is provided.

An underlying denominator among smokers and drinkers is that both women of higher financial status and with higher levels of education, smoke and drink more than those less wealthier and educated.

The overall findings reveal that less South Africans are smoking compared to two decades ago.

“The percentage of women and men age 15 and older who smoke tobacco has decreased since 1998; 11% of women and 42% of men smoked tobacco in 1998 compared with 7% of women and 37% of men in 2016,” the report states.

Smoking

According to SADHS, 7% of women age 15 and older currently smoke tobacco products, mostly cigarettes. Coloured and white women have a much higher prevalence of cigarette smoking (38% and 15%, respectively) than black/African and Indian/Asian women (3% each)

The prevalence of cigarette smoking among women is much higher in urban areas than in non-urban areas (9% versus 2%) and varies dramatically by province, ranging from highs of 25% in Western Cape and 18% in Northern Cape to lows of 1% in Limpopo and 2% in KwaZulu-Natal.

The prevalence of among men is five times higher than among women, with 37% of men age 15 and older report that they currently smoke, 36% reporting they smoke cigarettes.

The habit is common across all background characteristics, regardless of education or wealth quintile. The prevalence of cigarette smoking is higher in urban areas than in non-urban areas (39% and 31%, respectively). By province, cigarette smoking by men is highest in Northern Cape (44%) and lowest in Limpopo (25%).

Alcohol consumption and risky drinking

One in four women (26%) age 15 and older reported having ever drunk alcohol. Five percent of women report risky drinking; that is, they drank five or more standard measures of alcohol on a single occasion in the past 30 days. Three percent of women reported signs of problem drinking as assessed by the CAGE test.

By age, risky drinking among women was most common in the 20-24 year age group (9%) and lowest among women age 15-19 and 65 and older (2% each). Risky drinking is more common in urban areas than in non-urban (6% compared with 3%). Marked variation in risky drinking is reported by province; risky drinking is highest in Northern Cape (11%), Western Cape (9%), and North West (9%), and lowest in KwaZulu-Natal (1%) and Limpopo (2%)

Six in 10 men (61%) age 15 and older have ever drunk alcohol and over one-quarter of men (28%) exhibit risky drinking behaviour because they drank five or more standard measures of alcohol on a single occasion in the past 30 days. One in six men (16%) reported signs of problem drinking using the CAGE test.

White, coloured, and black/African men were similarly likely to report risky drinking in the past 30 days (26%-28%). Alcohol consumption was less common among Indian/Asian men; 13% reported drinking alcohol in the past 7 days, and 6% reported risky drinking.

Risky drinking among men rises rapidly by age, increasing from 12% of men age 15-19 to 31% of men age 20-24 and 36% of men age 25-34, before gradually declining. Risky drinking was higher among men in urban areas than in non-urban areas (29% versus 24%). By province, risky drinking was highest in Gauteng (35%). Notably, however, risky drinking is pervasive across all provinces, education levels, and wealth quintiles.

[Source – StatsSA. Image – CC Isabella Mendes]