The Prevalence of Smoking (Cigarette and Waterpipe) among University Students in Some Arab Countries: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 School of Medicine and Health Management, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hubei Province, Wuhan, China.

2 Wuhan Aige Ophthalmic Hospitals. No: S-8 Building, Nande International Area, Qian Chuan Street, Huangpi, Hubei Province, Wuhan, China.


Background: Tobacco use among university students remains the most alarming problem worldwide. This study aims to systematically review the previous literature for determining the prevalence of smoking (cigarette and waterpipe) among university students in some Arab countries. Methods: We electronically searched articles from MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Google Scholar and Google for the period from April 2018 to June 2019. We conducted a systematic review of eligible studies published in English between 2006 and 2019, for assessing cigarette and waterpipe smoking among university students. The studies were all cross-sectional according to eligibility criteria and contained 469 studies19 meet the inclusion criteria from 12 countries of (Yemen, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Libya and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Results: the study included a total of participants (N=45,306) (33,450 Males vs 11,856 Females). The overall highest rate of current smoking among students was in Egypt (46.7%), Kuwait (46%) and KSA (42.3%). The smoking prevalence among males was significantly higher than females in Yemen (36.3% vs 28.0%,p<0.001), Bahrain (27.0%vs 4.2%, p<0.001), Tunisia (38.4% vs 3.4%, P<0.001), Egypt (61.2% vs 18.9%, P<0.001),  Palestine (52.7% vs 16.5%, p<0.001), Syria (26.1% vs 9.5%, p<0.001), KSA (32.7%vs5.9%,P<0.001), and Jordan (54.3%vs11.1%, P<0.005) and (56.9%vs11.4%, P<0.005). Another study in Yemen was significantly higher among women than man (15.7% vs 10.3%, p<0.001). The highest waterpipe smoking rates among gender was in KSA (36.4%-36.3%). For cigarette smoking, the highest rates were in Libya (80.2%), Jordan (80%) and KSA (70.7%). The highest smoking rates among males were in Egypt (61.2%), Jordan (56.9%-54.3%) and Palestine (52.7%), for females the highest rate was in Yemen (28.0%). Conclusion: The prevalence of smoking cigarette and waterpipe appears to be alarmingly high among university students in Arab countries. The results were different among students, due to the nature of the region and the different customs, traditions, lineage and multicultural from country to another.


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