Background: Smoking is a growing public health problem throughout the world. However, the attitude of males and females toward smoking may differ. Therefore, this study examines gender differences in smoking behavior and attitude among Saudi medical students.
Methods: From January 2020 to August 2020, a snowball cross-sectional online survey was conducted in five major regions of Saudi Arabia. Medical students (18 years or older) were invited to respond to the questionnaire.
Results: Out of the 421 respondents, 255 (60.6%) were female, 243 (57.7%) were between 18 and-24-year-old, and 164 (39%) were from the Eastern Province. The overall prevalence of smoking was 25.4% and was higher among males than females [(44% and 13.3%, respectively), P < 0.001]. However, there was no significant difference in the mean score of the overall attitude towards smoking between males and females [(3.02±0.44 and 3.00±0.34), respectively, P=0.64]. However, more female students believed e-cigarettes were harmful to health than male students [(4.19±1.04 and 4.45±0.9), respectively, P=0.002].
Conclusion: The study showed that male students smoke more than female students, and there were no significant differences in the overall attitudes score towards smoking. Therefore, campaigns are needed to decrease smoking rate, especially among male students.
Keywords: Cigarette smoking; Smoking perception; smoking behavior; tobacco smoking; tobacco-related disparities.