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Author Notes:

HRIDAY, B-5/94, Safdarjung Enclave, First Floor, New Delhi, 110029, India. Tel.: +919810056631.

M.A. and G.P.N. conceptualised the study. L.B. and M.A. secured funding for the study. M.A., G.P.N. and N.J. adapted the study tool. G.P.N., N.S. and N.J. facilitated the data collection and implementation of the study. N.S. and G.P.N. analysed the results, and all the authors contributed to the interpretation of the findings. M.A., G.P.N., N.S. and N.J. drafted the article. S.M., D.P., D.M., L.B., K.S.R., M.K.A., V.M., N.T., K.M.V.N. and F.D. revised the article. All authors approved the final article.

The authors would like to acknowledge the data collection teams from HRIDAY, New Delhi and Chennai for participating in the study. The authors would also like to acknowledge the CARRS team for providing the list of participants and relevant information from the last follow-up.

Disclosures: None declared


Research Funding:

The activities and results presented in this article were supported by the following grants: the COVID-19 and Tobacco Project, funded from the University of Edinburgh's Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to the Tobacco Control Capacity Programme (MR/P027946/2), supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) with funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
  • COVID-19
  • Cessation
  • Tobacco
  • Smoking
  • India

COVID-19 and tobacco cessation: lessons from India

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Journal Title:



Volume 202


, Pages 93-99

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objectives: The Government of India prohibited the sale of tobacco products during the COVID-19 lockdown to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This study assessed the tobacco cessation behaviour and its predictors among adult tobacco users during the initial COVID-19 lockdown period in India. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 801 adult tobacco users (both smoking and smokeless tobacco) in two urban metropolitan cities of India over a 2-month period (July to August 2020). The study assessed complete tobacco cessation and quit attempts during the lockdown period. Logistic and negative binomial regression models were used to study the correlates of tobacco cessation and quit attempts, respectively. Results: In total, 90 (11.3%) tobacco users reported that they had quit using tobacco after the COVID-19 lockdown period. Overall, a median of two quit attempts (interquartile range 0–6) was made by tobacco users. Participants with good knowledge on the harmful effects of tobacco use and COVID-19 were significantly more likely to quit tobacco use (odds ratio [OR] 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–4.0) and reported more quit attempts (incidence risk ratio 5.7; 95% CI 2.8–11.8) compared to those with poor knowledge. Participants who had access to tobacco products were less likely to quit tobacco use compared to those who had no access (OR 0.3; 95% CI 0.2–0.5]. Conclusions: Access restrictions and correct knowledge on the harmful effects of tobacco use and COVID-19 can play an important role in creating a conducive environment for tobacco cessation among users.

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© 2021 The Authors

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