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Smoking in Saudi Arabia

There has been an upwards trend in current smoking prevalence in the general population in Saudi Arabia. In 2000 the overall prevalence was estimated to be around 15%; this increased to 16% by 2015, with a projection to increase to 17% by 2025. This increase in prevalence has been driven entirely by men's smoking, which increased from 23% to 26% between 2000 and 2015, and is projected to increase further to 28% by 2025 according to WHO trend data. By contrast, women's smoking during the same period has shown a decrease, from 4.2% in 2000 to 1.8% in 2015, and is projected to be around 1% by 2025. The WHO published prevalence trend estimates in tobacco smoking, as shown here, in their 2018 2nd edition report, which show slightly different smoking prevalence to the WHO country profiles. Data for the estimates were obtained from WHO databases. The trend lines are projections, not predictions, of future attainment. A projection indicates a likely endpoint if the country maintains its tobacco control efforts at the same level that it has implemented them to date. Therefore the impact of recent interventions could alter the expected endpoint shown in the projection. While the methods of estimation used in the first and second editions of the WHO report are the same, the volume of data available for the second edition is larger i.e. 200 more national surveys. The results presented are therefore more robust.

Read articles from Saudi Arabia

February 14, 2024 by

The Use of Electronic Cigarettes in Saudi Arabia: A Narrative Review

The use of electronic cigarettes (or "e-cigarettes") is spreading throughout the world. Population-level data from a number of countries indicate that e-cigarettes are used more by children and young adults than by the overall population. Although extensive research has been conducted in Western nations to better understand many aspects of e-cigarette usage among children and young adults, Middle Eastern nations have little data on this topic. The use of tobacco is detrimental to the health, finances, and national spirit of Saudi Arabia. More than 7,000 of its citizens die each year from diseases caused by tobacco use.

April 24, 2023 by

Vape confusion holds smokers back from kicking habit

A lack of clear information around less harmful cigarette alternatives is preventing more smokers from quitting, new research shows.

In a recent survey commissioned by British American Tobacco (BAT) and carried out by market analysts Kantar, 41 per cent of adult nicotine users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia were aware of how to reduce the harm imposed by smoking.

Data also showed 85 per cent of adult UAE smokers were open to switching to nicotine products such as vapes, compared with 35 per cent of smokers in Saudi Arabia.

October 14, 2021 by

Saudi’s Medical Students’ Perceptions About E-Cigarette Use

The study titled, “Knowledge and Attitudes Among Medical Students Toward the Clinical Usage of e-Cigarettes: A Cross-Sectional Study in a University Hospital in Saudi Arabia,” aimed to measure the likelihood of study participants’ favouring the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation. A total of 399 students filled a four-item questionnaire.


The compiled responses indicated that a minority approved of e-cigarette use for smoking cessation. “A minority (13.5%) believed that e-cigarettes are FDA-approved for smoking cessation, while approximately one-third believed e-smoking lowers cancer risks (31.1%) and could help with smoking cessation (31.1%).”

April 09, 2021 by

Saudi Arabia bans selling tobacco to children and smoking around them

Saudi Arabia banned the sale of tobacco to teenagers under 18 years old and smoking in areas where children are present, state media reported this week.

Importing and selling toys or candy made to look like cigarettes, or bear images that encourage children to smoke, has also been banned by law.

Saudi parents welcomed the move, saying it is “about time” people started acting responsibly and realise dangers of second-hand smoking.

“I am so relieved as a parent and teacher that the government is forcing adults to quit or at least prevent second-hand smoking and is focused on improving public health,” said Suad Alamri [...]

October 27, 2020 by

Saudi Arabia Bans The Non-Commercial Importation of Vaping Products

Saudi Customs have just banned the importation of shisha and vaping products through shipping companies and individuals' websites, from now on allowing only licensed companies to import the products for commercial purposes. As a result of this measure, anyone caught importing the products unlawfully will have them confiscated, forced to pay a fine, and have the offence recorded. On the other hand, said Saudi Customs, there are three circumstances under which importers can claim a refund of customs duties. [...]

May 09, 2018 by

VAT on tobacco in Saudi Arabia persuades many smokers to quit, but some hang on

Many Saudis say the increase in tobacco prices which doubled after the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) in June last year, has helped them to quit this bad habit.

Salman Al-Imam, a Sudanese driver living in Saudi Arabia, gave up 10 months ago. “I had been smoking for 15 years and never thought I’d quit,” he said. “However, with willpower, determination and Champix, I now can’t even stand the smell. I’d rather spend that money on my family.”