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BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 1046, 2022 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1865291


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown period lasted from March to May 2020, resulted in a highly stressful situation yielding different negative health consequences, including the worsening of smoking habit. METHODS: A web-based cross-sectional study on a convenient sample of 1013 Italian ever smokers aged 18 years or more was conducted. Data were derived from surveys compiled by three different groups of people: subjects belonging to Smoking Cessation Services, Healthcare Providers and Nursing Sciences' students. All institutions were from Northern Italy. The primary outcome self-reported worsening (relapse or increase) or improvement (quit or reduce) of smoking habit during lockdown period. Multiple unconditional (for worsening) and multinomial (for improving) logistic regressions were carried out. RESULTS: Among 962 participants, 56.0% were ex-smokers. Overall, 13.2% of ex-smokers before lockdown reported relapsing and 32.7% of current smokers increasing cigarette intake. Among current smokers before lockdown, 10.1% quit smoking and 13.5% decreased cigarette intake. Out of 7 selected stressors related to COVID-19, four were significantly related to relapse (OR for the highest vs. the lowest tertile ranging between 2.24 and 3.62): fear of being infected and getting sick; fear of dying due to the virus; anxiety in listening to news of the epidemic; sense of powerlessness in protecting oneself from contagion. In addition to these stressors, even the other 3 stressors were related with increasing cigarette intensity (OR ranging between 1.90 and 4.18): sense of powerlessness in protecting loved ones from contagion; fear of losing loved ones due to virus; fear of infecting other. CONCLUSION: The lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with both self-reported relapse or increase smoking habit and also quitting or reduction of it.

COVID-19 , Smokers , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Recurrence , Smoking/epidemiology