Changes in smoking behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain
More details
Hide details
Comité Nacional para la Prevención del Tabaquismo (CNPT), Madrid, Spain
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):55
Confinement and other measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic have affected health-related behaviours, such as smoking, through the 3 mechanisms postulated by the COM-B model of behaviour change: capability, opportunity and motivation to smoke or to quit.

To review the main published data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on smoking behaviour in Spain.

We summarise data from studies conducted in Spain analysing the impact of COVID-19 on tobacco use -selected in the framework of an ongoing systematic review- or published in reports available on the internet.

3 papers based on convenience sample surveys show heterogeneous results about the percentages of smokers who increased, decreased or quit smoking during the pandemic. From a random sample of telephone users, the OEDA-COVID survey showed that 2.6% of respondents quit tobacco use and 1.2% started smoking during confinement. Among those who were already smokers, 5.7% increased their use and 8.1% reduced or completely quit. Health support for smoking cessation was significantly decreased in Spain as a result of the pandemic, with a 60% reduction in sales of varenicline and bupropion in November 2020 compared to February 2020.
According to official statistics, cigarette and cigar sales during 2020 in Spain accounted for 92% and 95% of the previous year's sales, respectively. In contrast, sales of rolling tobacco and pipe tobacco were 104% and 144% respectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have affected tobacco use in Spain through different mechanisms, such as changes in the perceived risk of smoking, the emergence of barriers to accessing effective help to quit. As a result, many smokers may have changed their smoking patterns, and it is possible that those who reduced their tobacco use outnumbered those who increased their use. There is an urgent need to re-establish help for smokers to quit.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top