Tobacco cessation in low- to middle-income countries: A scoping review of randomized controlled trials

Navin Kumar, Kamila Janmohamed, Jeannette Jiang, Jessica Ainooson, Ameera Billings, Grace Q. Chen, Faith Chumo, Lauren Cueto, Raymond Niaura, Amy Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The growing prevalence of tobacco use in low "to middle" income countries (LMICs) and the hurdles of conducting tobacco cessation in that context necessitates a focus on the scope of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in LMICs to guide tobacco cessation in this environment. We conducted a scoping review to identify LMIC tobacco cessation RCTs.

METHODS: Consistent with PRISMA-ScR guidelines and without language restrictions, we systematically searched peer-reviewed databases (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, articles published since inception, latest searches in March 2020) and gray literature (clinical trials registries, searches between September and December 2019). We searched for data on RCT type, outcome significance and intervention description. Inclusion: research conducted in LMICs; tobacco cessation; RCT. Exclusion: research conducted in high income countries; non-RCT; studies involving only those aged <18. Data was extracted from published reports. We generated narrative summaries of each LMIC's tobacco cessation RCT research environment.

RESULTS: Of 8404 articles screened, we identified 92 studies. Tobacco cessation RCTs were recorded in 16 of 138 countries/territories in LMICs. Evidence was weak in quality and severely limited. Most RCTs were psychosocial, with limited behavioral and pharmacological variants.

CONCLUSIONS: Tobacco control within LMICs is essential to reduce the tobacco mortality burden. Researchers should be cognizant that tobacco cessation in LMICs is still not an environment where best practice has been established. We suggest that developing solutions specific for LMICs is key to effective tobacco control in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106612
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • RCTs, LMICs
  • Scoping review
  • Smoking, Global South
  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Aged
  • Developing Countries
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Tobacco Use Cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology


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