12, February 2021 | Bangladesh
Authors:Mistry S.K. Ali A.R.M.M. Rahman M.A. Yadav U.N. Gupta B. Rahman M.A. Huque R.
The present study explored the changes in tobacco use patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic and their correlates among older adults in Bangladesh. This cross-sectional study was conducted among 1032 older adults aged ≥60 years in Bangladesh through telephone interviews in October 2020. Participants’ characteristics and COVID-19-related information were gathered using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire. Participants were asked if they noted any change in their tobacco use patterns (smoking or smokeless tobacco) during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to pre-pandemic (6 months prior to the survey). Nearly half of the participants (45.6%) were current tobacco users, of whom 15.9% reported increased tobacco use during the COVID-19 pandemic and all others had no change in their tobacco use patterns. Tobacco use was significantly increased among the participants from rural areas, who had reduced communications during COVID-19 compared to pre-pandemic (OR = 2.76, 95%CI:1.51–5.03). Participants who were aged ≥70 years (OR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.14–0.77), widowed (OR = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.13–1.00), had pre-existing, non-communicable, and/or chronic conditions (OR = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.25–0.78), and felt themselves at the highest risk of COVID-19 (OR = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.15–0.62), had significantly lower odds of increased tobacco use. Policy makers and practitioners need to focus on strengthening awareness and raising initiatives to avoid tobacco use during such a crisis period.
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