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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 163-169

Electronic and regular cigarette use among king saud university students and their association with psychological distress

1 Department of Family and Community Medicine, King Saud University; King Saud University Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ruba Alsalem
College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2925, Riyadh 11461
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jnsm.jnsm_111_21

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Background: The growing trend of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among the youth is concerning. This behavior has not been well studied among Saudi young adults, let alone among females. Aims and Objectives: We measured the prevalence of e-cigarette and regular cigarette use among female university students, their association with psychological distress and student characteristics, and the reasons for smoking. Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 616 female students at King Saud University, from January to March 2019. Self-administered questionnaires were used asking about regular and e-cigarette use behavior, and psychological distress measured by 6-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6). Results: The response rate was 91.5%, and 7.8% of students smoked regular cigarette, while only 2.6% smoked e-cigarettes. About 86.9% of students had K6 scores suggestive of high levels of stress. Students whose friends smoked had around 16 times the odds for e-cigarette use (odds ratio [OR]: 15.75; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.45, 33.31), and 11 times the odds for regular cigarette use (OR: 11.40; 95% CI = 5.31, 24.47) compared to those without friends who smoked. The reasons for smoking e-cigarettes were peer pressure (35.6%), believing they are safer than regular cigarettes (32.2%), for quitting regular cigarettes (25.4%), and out of curiosity (6.8%). Conclusion: Although e-cigarette use prevalence does not seem quite high in this study, the prevalence of regular cigarette smoking was surprisingly higher. Peer pressure and having friends who smoke are important predictors of cigarette use that should be targeted in tobacco prevention planning.

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