Tobacco use has changed since the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The effect of smoking on COVID-19 susceptibility has not yet been determined. In this study, we aimed to assess the association between smoking and COVID-19 susceptibility.

This retrospective case-control study was conducted at the quarantine center of Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, between April and June 2020. A total of 142 adults participated in the study, 73 of whom tested positive for COVID-19 and were matched for both sex and age with participants in the control group. Telephone interviews were conducted to assess the risk factors associated with that exposure.

Different variables are investigated for their impact on COVID-19 infection susceptibility. The current study’s findings indicated that smokers comprised only 27.5% (n=39) of the participants. There was no association between the COVID-19 swab results and smoking status (χ2=1.857; p=0.395). Furthermore, there was no significant association between any of the smoking parameters and susceptibility to COVID-19, except for the smoking period (t= -2.105, p=0.041). The odds of having a positive swab result among cigarette smokers were lower than those among pipe, waterpipe, and electronic cigarette smokers (OR=0.600; p=0.394). An association was also observed between COVID-19-positive swab results and contact with an individual with COVID-19 or respiratory disease (χ2=79.270 and χ2=18.929, respectively, p≤0.001).

This study revealed no association between smoking status and COVID-19 swab test results. Further research with a bigger sample size is suggested to confirm the relationship between smoking and COVID-19 susceptibility.

We would like to express our profound gratitude to Malak Al Shammari, Chairman of the Family and Community Medicine Department, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, for her assistance and support.
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
There was no source of funding for this research.
The IAU's Institutional Review Board gave approval for this study (Approval number: IRB-UGS- 2021-01-154; Date: 6 March 2021). Participants provided written informed consent. Verbal consent was obtained from all participants before the telephone interviews.
The data supporting this research are available from the authors on reasonable request.
All authors contributed to data analysis, and in drafting and revising the article. They gave final approval of the version to be published and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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