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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 3070-3075

Prevalence and perceptions of e-cigarette use among medical students in a Saudi University

College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Eiad Habib
College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, P.O. Box 50927, Riyadh - 11533
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_235_20

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Background and Aims: We hypothesized that the prevalence of electronic cigarette vaping among the medical student population is on the rise. Our aims were to assess the prevalence of electronic cigarette vaping among medical students in Saudi Arabia, to understand and analyze the reasons that led them to try it, and to investigate students' perceptions towards electronic cigarette vaping. Methods: An anonymous, paper-based, cross-sectional questionnaire was distributed amongst 401 undergraduate medical students from years 1-5 at Alfaisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Prevalence, intensity of e-cigarette use and reasons for it, relation of electronic cigarettes to cessation of tobacco smoking, and side effects were studied. Results: The prevalence of vaping was 49/401 (12.2%). There was a strong association between gender and vaping, with males being 3 times more likely to vape compared to females (χ2 (1) =13.62, P<.001). The three most common reasons for using electronic cigarettes were to enjoy the variability in flavours (61.4%, n = 30), to reduce or quit tobacco cigarettes (29.5%, n = 14), and to avert the public smoking ban (13.6%, n = 7). The three most common side effects experienced by users were coughing (26.7%, n = 13), dry mouth/throat (24.4%, n = 12), and dizziness (20%, n = 10). Conclusion: Use of the electronic cigarettes is not uncommon amongst medical students, mostly due to their appealing flavor variability. Further research is required to define long-term safety and side effect profiles, and to generate evidence-based guidelines concerning e-cigarette safety and efficacy for smoking cessation.

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