Ghana-Country Profile

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The West African country of Ghana sits on the Atlantic Ocean and borders Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso 1With an estimated population of 29.6 million in 2018, it became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence in 19572

Demographically, Ghana has a young population, with approximately 38% under the age of 15 Ghana has a market based-economy with natural resources such as gold, cocoa and more recently oil forming an important part of Ghana’s economy and have helped fuel an economic boom, making it the second-fastest growing African economy after Ethiopia , Tobacco revenue contributes about 2% on average to total Government import sector and domestic excise revenue. It has remained negligible compared to overall total Government import sector and domestic excise revenue over the years 3

Smoking in Ghana

The Ghana Demographic Health Survey (GDHS) is a nationwide survey with a representative sample of women and men aged 15– 49 and 15– 59, respectively. According to the GDHS (2003-2014), the prevalence of smoking has remained below 10% in adult males with much lower prevalence in adult women (less than 1%) 45. Regional differences in smoking prevalence also exist in Ghana, indicating higher prevalence of tobacco use among those living in more deprived regions (such as the Northern parts of Ghana)6. The three Northern regions have the highest prevalence of tobacco use; 31.2% in Upper East, 22.5% in Northern and 7.9% in the Upper West region. Other factors such as low education levels, being a parent and use of alcohol are likely to predict tobacco use in Ghana 7

Whilst cigarettes remain the most common tobacco product in Ghana, smokeless tobacco products (with less than 1% smoking prevalence) are also consumed in variety of ways – sniffed, chewed, sucked or applied to teeth and gums. Among youth aged 13-15 years, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (2017) indicates that 8.8% of students used any form of tobacco products including 5.3% smoking water pipes (shisha) 8

Tobacco Industry in Ghana

Although the presence of the tobacco industry dates back to the 1950’s in Ghana, there has been no manufacturing of tobacco since December 2006 when British American Tobacco (BAT) shut down its production and relocated to Nigeria 9 Currently, there are two main tobacco importers on the Ghanaian market; BAT Ghana and Target Link Company limited. BAT remains the main importer of tobacco in Ghana with as much as 87% of yearly tobacco imports. Tobacco farming is uncommon in Ghana and local farmers in communities grow tobacco on an informal small scale for local consumption In 2014 for instance, 2545 metric tons of tobacco were produced, but this is only a small fraction of agriculture in Ghana, with only 0.04% of agricultural land devoted to tobacco cultivation

Road Map to Tobacco Control

In Ghana, anti-tobacco legislation was present in the 1980s, even before the ratification of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) in November 2004. Ghana has been an active member in the development of the WHO FCTC and was one of the first five African countries to become a party to the Convention; 39th country to sign the FCTC on the 20th June 2003 and ratified it on the 29th November 2004 10 In July 2012, the Public Health Act (851), which has nine parts of which tobacco control measures are the sixth, was passed. It is the primary tobacco control legislation and governs, among other things: smoking in public places; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and tobacco packaging and labelling. In 2016, the Tobacco Control Regulations (L.I. 2247) was formulated and entered into force on January 4, 2017 11. The L.I. 2247 outlines specific implementation laws on the ban on smoking in public places, no smoking signage, graphic health warnings, the ban on advertisement and promotion and lastly prohibition of tobacco industry interference in line with Article 5.3 of the FCTC

Progress in Tobacco Control in Ghana

Introduction of Pictorial Warning labels

In line with completing the requirements by the WHO FCTC Article 11, Ghana, as part of the L.I. 2247, introduced pictorial health warnings with their accompanying text covering 50% at the front and 60% at the back of the pack, positioned at the lower portion of each of the principal display areas in October 2018 1213

Ratification of the Illicit Trade Protocol

The volume of cigarettes smuggled into Ghana is estimated at between 10 per cent and 19.9 per cent of the total product 14response to the threat posed by illicit trade, Ghana signed the (ITP) on 24 September 2013 and ratified it on 29th May 2019


With thanks Arti Singh & Ellis Owusu-Dabo (SPH, KNUST, Ghana) who contributed to this page. Final editorial decisions were made by the Tobacco Control Research Group.

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  2. World Bank,The World Bank in Ghana,23 July 2019, accessed January 2020
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  4. Doku et al, Socioeconomic differences in tobacco use in Ghanaian adolescents, 2010, accessed January 2020
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  13. FDA,Labeling and warning statements for tobacco products, 10 August 2018, accessed January 2020
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