Drug Discov Ther. 2022;16(3):118-123. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2022.01041)

Evaluation of Japanese university students' perception of smoking, interest in quitting, and smoking behavior: An examination and public health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic

Aoike M, Mori Y, Hotta K, Shigeno Y, Aoyama Y, Tanaka M, Kozai H, Kawamura H, Tsurudome M, Ito M


This study examined college students' perceptions of the association between smoking and novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), changes in smoking behavior, and interest in quitting categorized by smoking device, to identify public health challenges. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 8,547 students in a Japanese university in March and April 2021. In response to "Awareness of the increased risk of COVID-19 infection due to smoking and the tendency to develop severe disease", current smokers (70.2%) were more aware of the risk than non-smokers (49.8%) (p < 0.001), with no significant difference according to smoking device (p = 0.213). "Interest in quitting smoking" (p = 0.323), and "Changes in smoking behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic" (p = 0.146) did not differ by smoking device. However, approximately 50% of the respondents answered that they were not interested in quitting smoking, while two-thirds reported that the number of cigarettes they smoked did not change during the pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, college students were found to be less interested in quitting and not likely to change their smoking behavior, despite the knowledge of the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission and severity of disease from smoking, regardless of smoking device.

KEYWORDS: COVID-19 pandemic, college students, perceptions of smoking, interest in quitting, smoking behavior

Full Text: