Original Article

The impact of coronavirus pandemic on smoking behaviors in university students: an online survey in Turkey

10.4274/tjps.galenos.2021.26985

  • Fatma Gül Nur Çelik
  • Goksun Demirel

Received Date: 05.07.2021 Accepted Date: 20.09.2021 Turk J Pharm Sci 0;0(0):0-0 [e-Pub]

Introduction:

The COVID-19 pandemic has a massive impact on human health, causing sudden lifestyle changes. As it affects health, determining the lifestyles of university students related to smoking has gained importance. This study aims to provide evidence of change in smoking behavior among university students in Turkey during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Methods:

This cross-sectional survey study was conducted via an electronic questionnaire between 2020-2021 among university students in Turkey. The study comprised a structured questionnaire that inquired demographic information; and the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence. The questionnaire was distributed randomly to university students; it required 6 minutes to complete.

Results:

A total of 749 respondents have been included in the study, aged between 19 and 35 years (54,8% females). Of 749 participants, a total of 571 health science students (medicine, pharmacy dentist, etc) completed the survey. The pre-pandemic and Covid-19 pandemic mean nicotine dependence scores were 3,03 and 2,97, respectively. A difference was seen prepandemic (p = 0.002) and during pandemic (p = 0.005) for those studying in health departments and other departments. Students who have middle socio-economical status had significantly higher nicotine dependence scores pre-covid-19, compared to during the pandemic. (p=0.027). Compared to pre and during the pandemic, the mean score of dependence was significantly lower in students whose parents were non-smokers during the pandemic.

Discussion and Conclusion:

In this study, we have provided the first data on the Turkish university student's nicotine dependence changes during the COVİD 19 lockdown. The nicotine dependence level may change based on various factors including behavioral changes. Crucial times like pandemics can affect individuals, thus smoking addiction can increase. Behavioral support for quitting smoking such as digital platforms, the internet, and television programs should also assist to support smokers quitting successfully during this supreme time.