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Advancing in Tobacco Control and Public Health Policy amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Communication and Informatics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 15959

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, 03722 Seoul, Korea
2. Korea Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, 7 Nonhyeon-ro 98-gil, Gangnam-gu, 06136 Seoul, Korea
3. Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 14 Gwanpyeong-ro 176beon-gil, Dongan-gu, 14066 Anyang-si, Korea
Interests: tobacco control policy; tobacco industry interference; global public health

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Smoking Cessation Clinic & Department of Family Medicine Health Promotion Center, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, 14 Gwanpyeong-ro 176beon-gil, Dongan-gu, 14066 Anyang-si, Korea
2. Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 14 Gwanpyeong-ro 176beon-gil, Dongan-gu, 14066 Anyang-si, Korea
Interests: tobacco dependence treatment; tobacco control policy; health risk appraisal

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Korea Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, 7 Nonhyeon-ro 98-gil, Gangnam-gu, 06136 Seoul, Korea
2. Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 14 Gwanpyeong-ro 176beon-gil, Dongan-gu, 14066 Anyang-si, Korea
Interests: health education; smoking prevention program, tobacco control policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Tobacco use may increase the risk of being infected with COVID-19, increase the chances of complications, and also increase the probability of its spread. Despite the difficult circumstances the world is currently facing, tobacco control initiatives should still continue to advance. Tobacco users have heard of the impact of smoking in terms of the increased severity of illness, and smoking is associated with severe clinical outcomes for people with other types of coronavirus, including the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the behavioural change among tobacco users. For example, in the UK, a million people have stopped smoking since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Britain, and a further 440,000 UK smokers tried to quit during the early stages of the pandemic. COVID-19 is also affecting the reinforcement of tobacco control policies around the globe. In India, sales of tobacco products were banned when the country went into lockdown in April 2020, and the country required people to refrain from consuming smokeless tobacco products in public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On the other hand, in countries like the Republic of Korea, the national smoking cessation service and tobacco control policies have weakened following the outbreak of COVID-19. The country’s 254 public health centres providing the national smoking cessation service came to a standstill following the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the planned tobacco control policy was delayed due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the rigid enforcement of regulations on tobacco advertising in tobacco retail shops and convenience stores were delayed because the retailers claimed they had suffered too much with COVID-19. Papers addressing any topics related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tobacco control and public health policies; smoking cessation services; behavioural change among tobacco users; tobacco industry activities; tobacco products; etc. are invited for this Special Issue. The Issue will provide discussion on how to advance tobacco control policy and services based on the various case studies, and suggest ways to protect people from tobacco when we are facing a new pandemic similar to COVID-19. 

Disclaimer: We will not accept research funded in part or full by any tobacco companies in this Special Issue. For more details, please check: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2831/htm.

Dr. Sungkyu Lee
Prof. Dr. Yu Jin Paek
Dr. Jinyoung Kim
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • tobacco
  • tobacco industry
  • policy
  • nicotine
  • e-cigarettes
  • vaping
  • novel tobacco products
  • smoking cessation service
  • perception

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 342 KiB  
Article
Stress Increases the Association between Cigarette Smoking and Mental Disorders, as Measured by the COVID-19-Related Worry Scale, in the Miami Adult Studies on HIV (MASH) Cohort during the Pandemic
by Janet Diaz-Martinez, Ivan Delgado-Enciso, Adriana Campa, Javier A. Tamargo, Haley R. Martin, Angelique Johnson, Suzanne Siminski, Pamina M. Gorbach and Marianna K. Baum
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 8207; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138207 - 5 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1869
Abstract
Background: Smoking has been associated with mental disorders (MD). People who smoke are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing more severe symptoms of the illness. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between cigarette smoking and MD before and during [...] Read more.
Background: Smoking has been associated with mental disorders (MD). People who smoke are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing more severe symptoms of the illness. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between cigarette smoking and MD before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether it was influenced by COVID-19-related stress in the MASH cohort. Methods: An ambispective design was used with data collected during the pandemic (July/August 2020) by the COVID-19-Related Worry Scale, a parameter for stress, and data collected at the participants’ last cohort visit before the pandemic (December 2019). Results: In our sample of 314 participants, 58.6% were living with HIV, 39.2% had MD, 52.5% smoked before, and 47.8% smoked during the pandemic. Participants with MD were twice as likely to smoke cigarettes both before (aOR = 2.02, 95% CI: 1.21–3.37, p = 0.007) and during the pandemic (aOR = 2.10, 95% CI: 1.24–3.56, p = 0.006); and experienced higher levels of stress measured by the COVID-19-Related Worry Scale (8.59 [5.0–10.0] vs. 7.65 [5.0–10.0]; p = 0.026) compared to those without MD. Participants with MD and high levels of stress smoked more days per month (20.1 [0–30] days) than those with lower levels of stress (9.2 [0–30] days, p = 0.021), and more than those with high levels of stress, but no MD (2.6 [0–30] days, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Cigarette smoking decreased in the MASH cohort during the pandemic, but increased in participants with MD and higher levels of stress. Full article
7 pages, 724 KiB  
Communication
Opportunistic Non-Governmental Organisation Delivery of a Virtual Stop Smoking Service in England during the COVID-19 Lockdown
by Nathan P. Davies, Matthew E. Callister, Harriet Copeland, Stuart Griffiths, Leah Holtam, Paul Lambert, Jacquelyn Mathur, Rebecca Thorley and Rachael L. Murray
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7722; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137722 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1556
Abstract
Smoking cessation services have rapidly transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes include pivoting from face-to-face to telephone and video call support, remote provision of stop smoking aids and more flexible appointments. This study reports an evaluation of a charity-led smoking cessation service rapidly [...] Read more.
Smoking cessation services have rapidly transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes include pivoting from face-to-face to telephone and video call support, remote provision of stop smoking aids and more flexible appointments. This study reports an evaluation of a charity-led smoking cessation service rapidly conceived and launched in this context. The pilot service accepted self-referrals in Yorkshire, England from 20 May 2020 to 5 June 2020. A dedicated smoking cessation practitioner provided 12 weeks of weekly behavioural support over telephone or video call. NRT and/or medication and/or e-cigarettes were posted to the participant bi-weekly for up to 12 weeks. Written and telephone evaluation questionnaires were administered post-programme. Of 79 participants, 57 (72.2%) self-reported a 4-week quit and 51 (64.6%) self-reported a 12-week quit. Those concurrently using e-cigarettes and NRT had an 84.1% 12-week quit rate. The majority of participants chose to use e-cigarettes and NRT in combination (55.7%). 39 participants completed an evaluation form, with at least 90% recording they were “very satisfied” with each service component. 27 participants completed a telephone interview, reporting a relationship with practitioners, as well as convenience, and organisational reputation as service strengths. Virtual services can be set up quickly and effectively in response to demand. Quit rates were highest for those concurrently using e-cigarettes and NRT. Service users value flexibility and convenience of remote support and posting of quit aids. Full article
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10 pages, 506 KiB  
Article
Association between Low-Dose Computed Tomography Results and 1-Year Smoking Cessation in a Residential Smoking Cessation Program
by Da-Som Shin, Hye-Mi Noh, Hong Ji Song, Kyung Hee Park, Young-Gyun Seo and Yu-Jin Paek
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5510; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095510 - 1 May 2022
Viewed by 1559
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health threat. Smoking and smoking-related lung diseases are risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection. This study investigated whether low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan results affected the success of 1-year smoking cessation. The Gyeonggi Southern Smoking Support Center [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health threat. Smoking and smoking-related lung diseases are risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection. This study investigated whether low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan results affected the success of 1-year smoking cessation. The Gyeonggi Southern Smoking Support Center performed the residential smoking cessation program from January to December 2018. During the program, LDCT was performed on 292 participants; 6 months later, follow-up via telephone or visit was conducted. Among the 179 participants who succeeded in smoking cessation for 6 months, telephone follow-up was conducted to determine whether there was a 12-month continuous smoking cessation. In order to evaluate the association between LDCT results and 12-month continuous abstinence rate (CAR), logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). The CARs at 6 and 12 months were 61.3% and 31.5%, respectively. Indeterminate or suspicious malignant lung nodules were associated with a higher 12-month CAR (OR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.15–7.98), whereas psychiatric history was associated with a lower 12-month CAR (OR, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.03–0.15). These results suggest that abnormal lung screening results may encourage smokers to quit smoking. Full article
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8 pages, 727 KiB  
Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Tobacco Sales and National Smoking Cessation Services in Korea
by Jinyoung Kim and Sungkyu Lee
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5000; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095000 - 20 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1986
Abstract
This study aimed to describe the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the Korean government’s response to the pandemic on tobacco consumption and national smoking cessation services among the Korean population. We obtained tobacco sale data from the Ministry of Finance and [...] Read more.
This study aimed to describe the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the Korean government’s response to the pandemic on tobacco consumption and national smoking cessation services among the Korean population. We obtained tobacco sale data from the Ministry of Finance and analysed the data on smokers’ visits to national smoking cessation clinics during the pandemic from a member of the National Assembly. We also conducted an online search to understand smokers’ thoughts about their tobacco use during the pandemic. We found that after the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, the sale of conventional cigarettes increased from 3063.70 to 3209.70 million packs (4.77%). The number of smokers who visited clinics sharply decreased in the first half of 2020. The six-month quit rate decreased from 38.5% in 2017 to 22.3% in early 2020. We also found that smokers increased their consumption and began to switch from conventional cigarettes to heated tobacco products. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened tobacco control policies and programs in Korea in the last two years; however, based on our experience during this period and considering the WHO recommendation, we should sustain and reinforce tobacco control policies and national smoking cessation services today and in the future. Full article
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13 pages, 937 KiB  
Article
The COVID-19 Pandemic and Smoking Cessation—A Real-Time Data Analysis from the Polish National Quitline
by Paweł Koczkodaj, Magdalena Cedzyńska, Irena Przepiórka, Krzysztof Przewoźniak, Elwira Gliwska, Agata Ciuba, Joanna Didkowska and Marta Mańczuk
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2016; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042016 - 11 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1705
Abstract
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, tobacco research has delivered new evidence on the harmfulness of smoking in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the course of the COVID-19 disease. More and more research proves that smoking is an important risk factor [...] Read more.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, tobacco research has delivered new evidence on the harmfulness of smoking in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the course of the COVID-19 disease. More and more research proves that smoking is an important risk factor contributing to increased risk of mortality among COVID-19 patients. The aim of this study was to assess whether and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted decisions about quitting smoking. A total of 4072 records of anonymized data were obtained from the Polish National Quitline. Between 15 April 2020 and 31 May 2021, the callers were asked about the COVID-19 pandemic and its influence on their decisions on smoking continuation or cessation. Our results indicate that smokers are very receptive to communication concerning COVID-19 and smoking risk. This phenomenon can possibly be connected to the immediate potential health consequences of smoking and COVID-19 virus infection. Results may indicate that putting emphasis on arguments combined with short-term health consequences of smoking may result in better outcomes in smoking cessation. There is a need for further and constant education on tobacco-related health harm. Our results showed that an irregular and mass communication on health consequences may result in high effectiveness in smoking cessation. Full article
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12 pages, 832 KiB  
Article
PaLS Study: Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Usage among Polish University Students in the Context of Stress Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Alicja Monika Jodczyk, Przemysław Seweryn Kasiak, Natalia Adamczyk, Joanna Gębarowska, Zuzanna Sikora, Grzegorz Gruba, Artur Mamcarz and Daniel Śliż
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1261; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031261 - 23 Jan 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4133
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and imposed restrictions were strong stress factors for young people, especially students. Increased alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes, usage of heated tobacco products, and other stimulants are common methods of coping with anxiety. However, they can have serious negative health effects. [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and imposed restrictions were strong stress factors for young people, especially students. Increased alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes, usage of heated tobacco products, and other stimulants are common methods of coping with anxiety. However, they can have serious negative health effects. A survey consisting of 12 questions related to mental health and psychoactive substance taking habits was distributed among Polish students between 22 February 2021 and 3 April 2021. A total of 1323 participants met all inclusion criteria (nfemales = 1021, nmales = 297, nother gender = 5). The mean age was 22 years old (±4.17); 47.62% were medical university students. A total of 71.92% reported negative impact, 8.25% did not notice changes, and 12.58% declared a positive pandemic impact on their mental health. A total of 12.58% declared an increase, 70.22% did not see any differences, and 17.20% reported a decrease in their psychoactive substance usage tendency due to the pandemic. Worse perceived psychologic well-being was correlated with a higher tendency to use tobacco (p < 0.001) and alcohol (p < 0.001), and not with marijuana and products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (p = 0.136), and hard drugs (p = 0.799). The majority of participants declared a negative pandemic impact on mental health and did not report significant changes in psychoactive substance taking habits. Medical personnel should be aware of the current situation and apply for proper prevention and treatment programs. Full article
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15 pages, 1469 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of National Residential Smoking Cessation Program
by Mi-Jeong Park, Young-Gyun Seo, Hye-Mi Noh, Yeol Kim, Jong Lull Yoon and Yu-Jin Paek
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189901 - 20 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2042
Abstract
We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of the Korean national five-day residential smoking cessation program and the factors affecting the long-term smoking cessation of participants. The residential smoking cessation program (2017–2018) recruited smokers with a smoking duration ≥ 20 years and who have [...] Read more.
We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of the Korean national five-day residential smoking cessation program and the factors affecting the long-term smoking cessation of participants. The residential smoking cessation program (2017–2018) recruited smokers with a smoking duration ≥ 20 years and who have attempted to quit smoking more than twice and/or smokers with chronic morbidities. Participants underwent an intensive intervention, including individual psychological therapy, group therapy, medical counseling, and pharmacotherapy. The 6-month continuous abstinence rate (CAR) was assessed via self-reports, the urine cotinine levels, and/or expired-air carbon monoxide levels. Logistic regression was used to analyze the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) to assess factors related to smoking cessation. Overall, 484 participants who completed the residential program and questionnaire were evaluated. The 3- and 6-month CAR were 81.82% and 63.22%, respectively. The aOR of 6-month continuous abstinence was lower among participants with severe nicotine dependence (aOR: 0.46, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.26–0.81) and higher among participants with combination therapy of varenicline with short-term nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) (aOR: 1.64, 95% CI: 1.07–2.51), with higher self-efficacy (aOR: 1.97, 95% CI: 1.15–3.37). The residential smoking cessation program was effective. High self-efficacy, combination therapy of varenicline with short-term NRT, and low nicotine dependence were associated with a high 6-month CAR. Full article
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