Human rights violations and smoking status among South African adults enrolled in the South Africa Stress and Health (SASH) study
Despite South Africa's history of violent political conflict, and the link between stressful experiences and smoking in the literature, no public health study has examined South Africans' experiences of human rights violations and smoking. Using data from participants in the nationally representative cross-sectional South Africa Stress and Health study (SASH), this analysis examined the association between respondent smoking status and both human rights violations experienced by the respondent and violations experienced by the respondents' close friends and family members. SAS-Callable SUDAAN was used to construct separate log-binomial models by political affiliation during apartheid (government or liberation supporters). In comparison to those who reported no violations, in adjusted analyses, government supporters who reported violations of themselves but not others (RR = 1.76, 95% CI: 1.25-2.46) had a significantly higher smoking prevalence. In comparison to liberation supporters who reported no violations, those who reported violations of self only (RR = 1.56, 95%CI: 1.07-2.29), close others only (RR = 1.97, 95%CI: 1.12-3.47), or violations of self and close others due to close others' political beliefs and the respondent's political beliefs (RR = 2.86, 95%CI: 1.70-4.82) had a significantly higher prevalence of smoking. The results of this analysis suggest that a relationship may exist between human rights violations and smoking among South Africa adults. Future research should use longitudinal data to assess causality, test the generalizability of these findings, and consider how to apply these findings to smoking cessation interventions.