Changes in Smoking Status and Behaviors After the First 10 Months of COVID-19 Pandemic in Indonesia

Adrianna Bella, Arya Swarnata, Gea Melinda, Dimitri Swasthika Nurshadrina, Teguh Dartanto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: There remains inconclusive evidence on potential changes in smoking status and behaviors during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-9) pandemic, especially in developing countries. AIMS AND METHODS: This study explores the direction of changes in smoking status and behaviors after 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia as well as examining the association between economic shocks and changes in smoking behaviors. Primary data were gathered through a phone survey targeting productive-age mobile-phone users in Indonesia (n = 1082). Descriptive analysis was employed to determine changes in smoking status and behaviors 10 months into the pandemic, while logistic regression analysis was used to investigate how employment shocks, financial strain, COVID-19-related indicators, and demographic characteristics were associated with smoking behaviors of people who continue smoking. RESULTS: Respondents experiencing changes in smoking status were dominated by people who persistently smoked during the pandemic, while those who quit, relapsed, and started smoking, was extremely small. Nevertheless, a considerable portion of people who continue smoking adjusted their smoking behaviors: 40.3% reduced smoking intensity and 25.3% switched to lower-price cigarettes. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that, among people who continue smoking, those who experienced financial strain during the pandemic had higher odds of reducing smoking intensity, while those who switched to lower job status had higher odds of switching to cheaper cigarettes. CONCLUSIONS: The research has shown that smoking status and behaviors of people who continue smoking mostly remained unchanged after 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in employment and financial conditions during the pandemic were associated with modified smoking behaviors. IMPLICATIONS: This study is the first to determine the direction and analyze the factors of changes in smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. This new understanding should help improve predicting the trends in smoking in future crises or pandemics in developing countries, specifically Indonesia. The discovered patterns on smokers' reaction to an exogenous shock may provide evidence to support tobacco control policies in Indonesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-236
Number of pages9
JournalNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2023


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