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The Impact of COVID-19 on smoking behaviours and support for smoke-free zones in Saudi Arabia.

Tobaiqy, Mansour; MacLure, Andrew; Thomas, Dennis; MacLure, Katie


Mansour Tobaiqy

Andrew MacLure

Dennis Thomas

Katie MacLure


This article focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on smoking and smoking cessation behaviours and support for smoke-free zones in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A pre-tested structured survey was distributed by email in October–November 2020 to students and staff at the University of Jeddah. Responses were analysed using descriptive statistics with summative content analysis of open text. Participants providing open text comments (n = 374/666; 56.4%) were non-smokers (n = 293; 78.3%), former smokers (n = 26; 7.0%) and current smokers (n = 55; 14.7%). Some had household members (n = 220; 58.8%) and friends who smoke (n = 198; 52.9%) plus daily exposure to secondhand smoke at home (n = 125; 33.4%). There was an awareness during COVID-19 of: smoking inside cafes/restaurants and other indoor and outdoor public places; exposure to warnings in the media both against and promoting smoking; widespread support for smoke-free zones. Smokers plans for accessing smoking cessation support are inconsistent with retrospective reports. Many express positivity highlighting reductions in smoking but there were also negative reports of increased smoking. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of society worldwide. People have been at home more with restricted freedom of movement and limitations on social liberty. These individual accounts can help to focus evidence-based smoking prevention and cessation programmes during and post-COVID-19.


TOBAIQY, M., MACLURE, A., THOMAS, D. and MACLURE, K. 2021. The impact of COVID-19 on smoking behaviours and support for smoke-free zones in Saudi Arabia. International journal of environmental research and public health [online], 18(1), article 6927. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 24, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2021
Publication Date Jul 1, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 29, 2022
Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Print ISSN 1661-7827
Electronic ISSN 1660-4601
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 13
Article Number 6927
Keywords Smoking cessation; Quitting tobacco products; Barriers for quitting; Secondhand smoking; Smoke free zones; COVID-19; Saudi Arabia
Public URL


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