Smoking behaviour, a survey of Canadians in Qatar / by Noel Pendergast.
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Introduction Canada has relatively strict tobacco control policies as public smoking is banned in most jurisdictions and cigarettes are heavily taxed. In Canada, cigarettes cost approximately $10 for a package o f 20. Corresponding with an increase in tobacco control over the past several decades, smoking prevalence in Canada has decreased significantly, currently at 19%. Qatar has less strict tobacco control with a high prevalence of public smoking and cigarettes are not taxed. In Qatar, cigarettes cost approximately $2 for a package of 20. Data on smoking prevalence in Qatar are difficult to collect due to cultural and religious restrictions. However, some studies have estimated the smoking prevalence in Qatar to be greater than 35%. Rationale The rationale of this study was to evaluate the effect of a decrease in tobacco control on the smoking behaviour of Canadians. Methods Cross-sectional design utilizing a web-based questionnaire to a convenience sample (n=181) of Canadians employed at a college in Qatar. Results Prevalence of smoking among Canadians was found to be significantly higher while living in Qatar (Qatar - 18%, Canada - 14%; p < .001). Over 60% of smokers consumed more cigarettes in Qatar. Current smokers cited low prices and increased public smoking as reasons for their recidivism and increased consumption. Conclusions and Implications The availability of cheaper cigarettes and increased access to public smoking may lead to an increase in smoking prevalence and consumption of cigarettes. The results are important because they indicate if tobacco control in Canada is decreased; the prevalence of smoking and consumption of tobacco may increase.