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Table of Contents   
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 173-178
Patterns of tobacco consumption in food facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


1 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission10-Jan-2014
Date of Acceptance03-Mar-2014
Date of Web Publication7-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
Ahmed Mandil
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/1817-1737.134075

PMID: 24987478

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   Abstract 

Aim: This study aimed at assessing prevailing patterns and risk factors of tobacco consumption among clients, food handlers and employers of food facilities, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A cross-sectional approach to a representative sample of food facilities in Riyadh was used. A sample of 3000 participants included clients (75%); food handlers/hospitality workers (20 %) and employers (5 %). Participants were reached at restaurants, food courts or cafes. A modified version of the WHO-CDC-Global Youth Tobacco Survey questionnaire was used for data collection.
Results: The prevalence of tobacco use at food facilities was found to be 40.3 %, of which 74% were customers, 18.8% were food handlers and 7.2% were managers. The consumption of tobacco was higher at restaurants (39.9%), but lowest at food courts of shopping malls. Water pipe (55.3%) was the main consumption type, followed by cigarettes (42.6%) and chewing tobacco (2.1%). Multivariate analysis showed that gender (male), marital status (single), and type of food facility (Estaraha and café/coffee shop) were independent risk factors associated with tobacco use at food facilities.
Conclusion: Tobacco use is very common in food facilities in Riyadh as reflected by results of our study, especially among single males Saudis. We should build on success encountered in banning smoking in airports, airplanes, shopping malls, market places, educational institutions and healthcare facilities, extending the ban to include food facilities as well. This is important for the health of non-smokers as well as smokers themselves.


Keywords: Food facilities, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, tobacco use


How to cite this article:
Mandil A, Yamani M, BinSaeed A, Ahmad S, Younis A, Al-Mutlaq A, Al-Baqmy O, Al-Rajhi A. Patterns of tobacco consumption in food facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ann Thorac Med 2014;9:173-8

How to cite this URL:
Mandil A, Yamani M, BinSaeed A, Ahmad S, Younis A, Al-Mutlaq A, Al-Baqmy O, Al-Rajhi A. Patterns of tobacco consumption in food facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ann Thorac Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jan 23];9:173-8. Available from: http://www.thoracicmedicine.org/text.asp?2014/9/3/173/134075


Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the world and one of the biggest threats the world has ever faced. Although tobacco deaths rarely make headlines, tobacco kills one person every six seconds. Today, tobacco use causes 1 in 10 deaths among adults worldwide, more than five million people a year. [1] Tobacco consumption is associated with a series of illnesses including: different types of cancers; pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases. [2]

Tobacco is widely used in EMR mainly in the form of cigarette or shisha smoking. [3],[4] In 2002, the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia launched an initiative to make the two holiest cities in Islam: Mecca and Madina, not just smoke-free but literally tobacco-free. The aim was not just to restrict smoking in the two cities, but also to prohibit all commercial activities involving tobacco. [5]

Several studies have been conducted on tobacco consumption in Saudi Arabia. These studies targeted different subgroups of the population including: secondary school students, [6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] college students, [12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24],[25],[26],[27],[28],[29] university employees, [30],[31] both males and females, and explored their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards smoking in addition to prevalence of tobacco use in such subgroups. In addition, wider scale general population-based tobacco-use surveys are also cited in the literature. [32],[33],[34],[35]

Only few studies - locally and globally - looked into knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of people in food facilities [36],[37],[38] although they represent an example of public places where several categories of persons are exposed to "environmental tobacco smoke" (ETS); these include clients, workers as well their managers or employers. None of these studies have analyzed the risk factors for tobacco users among those participants.

Other studies, as the systematic review of Calinan et al., [39] compared exposure of participants in food facilities to tobacco before and after implementation of tobacco-free legislations. Fifty studies were included in such review. Of 31 studies which reported exposure to ETS, only 19 measured it using biomarkers. There was consistent evidence that tobacco use bans reduced exposure to ETS in workplaces, restaurants, and public places. Nevertheless, there was more reduction in ETS exposure among hospitality workers when compared to general population. Overall tobacco use was reported to go down in studies where prevalence went down.

Many countries in Europe and North America have passed legislations that ban tobacco use in public places, including food facilities. Studies performed in Europe as in Finland, [40] Georgia, [41] Germany, [42],[43] Sweden, [44] Spain [45] and Italy [46] as well as North America as in Canada [47] and USA [48],[49] have shown that degrees of exposure to ETS among hospitality workers in food facilities and entertainment places have dramatically decreased following bans of smoking in public places, which was strictly implemented in such countries, compared to pre-ban levels.

While no official ban of tobacco use in food facilities (including restaurants, cafes and food courts within shopping malls) was implemented in Saudi Arabia until the data for this research was collected, and because of lack of previous studies investigating tobacco use in food facilities in Riyadh, this research provides baseline information that can be used in the future when comparing the effect on tobacco use before and after the ban of smoking in public places.

Thus the current study aimed at assessing prevailing patterns and risk factors of tobacco consumption among clients, food handlers and employers, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during 2012.


   Methods Top


This cross-sectional study during 2011-2012 was carried out on a representative sample of food facilities in Riyadh based on an estimated prevalence of tobacco use in Saudi Arabia of 25% among adult males, with the width of confidence interval as 2%, at 5% level of significance, and assuming 20% non-response from the study subjects. An estimated sample of 3000 participants was estimated to include clients (75%); food handlers/hospitality workers (20 %) and employers (5 %). The sample was stratified according to the five regions of Riyadh city (Eastern, Western, Central, Southern and Northern) then clusters of restaurants/cafes/food-courts within malls /"Estarahat (cafes located at outskirts of Riyadh)" were selected by using probability proportion sampling. Participants were reached at restaurants, food courts, cafes and estarahas. The sample included "clients" who were ordering food or drinks, besides food/beverage "handlers", "employers or managers" at these places.

A modified version of the WHO-CDC-Global Youth Tobacco Survey Arabic questionnaire was used for data collection. [50] The tool was revised and piloted to test its validity and reliability before it was finally utilized and distributed.

Thus, the tool included questions on: (I) demographic data: age; gender; marital status; occupation, education, income, reason for being in food facility etc (II) behavioral patterns with respect to tobacco use: smoking frequency; age of initiation of smoking; intention for cessation of smoking. etc

Data was collected by KSU medical students, reviewed for completeness and accuracy, and managed using SPSS PC+ version 19.0 (Chicago, USA) statistical software. Descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages) were used to describe the categorical study and outcome variables. Pearson's chi-square test and odds ratios were used to test and measure the association between categorical study and outcome variables. Multivariate binary stepwise logistic regression was used to identify the independent risk factors for tobacco use in food facilities. A P-value of <0.05 and 95% confidence intervals were used to report the statistical significance and precision of the estimates.


   Results Top


Of the 2932 study subjects, 27.9% (818) were from central, 21.6% (632) from Eastern and the least number of study subjects, i.e. 10.8% (316) were from southern region of Riyadh city. About 44.7% (1296) of study subjects were interviewed from restaurants, the rest from remaining coffee shops, food courts of shopping malls and Estarahat. Study subjects were customers (71.7%), food handlers (20.7%) or managers (7.7%). About two-thirds of participants were Saudis (62.3 %), the rest (37.7%) were non Saudis. Just above half (52.8%) were married, while 40.4% earned SAR 1000 to < 5000 per month. The occupation of study subjects was variable, ranging from students (24.5%) to retired people (1.2%) [Table 1].
Table 1: Socio-Demographic characteristics of study subjects, food facilities, Riyadh

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The prevalence of tobacco use at food facilities was found to be 40.3% (1183), of which 74% were customers, 18.8% were food handlers and 7.2% were managers. The consumption of tobacco was higher at restaurants (39.9%), and lower at food courts of shopping malls. Water pipe (shisha) was the main consumption type (55.3%), followed by cigarettes (42.6%) and chewing tobacco (2.1%) [Table 2].
Table 2: Tobacco use by study subjects and family members, food facilities, Riyadh

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Bivariate analysis

Comparison of various associated factors between the study subjects who use and who do not use tobacco at food facilities showed that nationality (being Saudi), gender (male), marital status (single), in the three income ranges (1000 - <5000; 5000- <10000; and 10000+), type of study subject (customer), type of food facility (restaurant, coffee shop and estaraha), occupation (military related), smoking family member, and who smokes in the family (father, brother and more than 2 family members) were statistically significantly associated factors with tobacco use. The odds of being a male study subject who uses tobacco at a food facility in our sample was 8.9 times compared to female study subjects, which was found to be highly statistically significant (P < 0.0001). The Estaraha and coffee shop/café food facilities were mostly used for tobacco use, when compared to food courts/shopping mall facilities (OR = 13.2 and 6.7) indicating a high statistically significant association. Reported military occupation (of clients) at food facilities was associated with more use of tobacco, when compared to other occupations. Having a smoking family member/more than two smoking family members was associated with higher estimated risk for a study subject to use tobacco at a food facility in our sample. Among the family members, father and brother being smokers was significantly associated with the use of tobacco at a food facility [Table 3].
Table 3: Associated factors of tobacco use in food facilities, Riyadh

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Multivariate analysis

The stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis with all significant variables of bivariate analysis shows that: gender (male), marital status (single), income per month (1000 to <5000; 5000 to <10000 and 10000+) and type of food facility (Estaraha and café/coffee shop) were independent factors associated with the use of tobacco at food facilities. The variables (nationality, type of study subjects, occupation, smoking family member, who smokes in the family?) were not independently statistically significantly associated with the use of tobacco at food facilities [Table 4].
Table 4: Risk factors of tobacco use at food facilities, Riyadh

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   Discussion Top


The prevalence of tobacco use at food facilities in our sample was estimated at a high rate of 40%, but highest among customers (74%), followed by food handlers (19%) and managers (7%). A study among male restaurant workers in Boston's Chinatown indicated that 83% of them were current smokers. [36] Nevertheless, our overall estimate (40%) is not very different from estimates among the general population which ranged between 17-34% among adult males during the past 15 years. [32],[33],[34],[35]

Amongst food facilities, consumption of tobacco was higher in restaurants (40%) compared to food courts located within shopping malls, which is an expected outcome, as the latter are considered smoke-free areas. It was interesting to find out that water pipe (shisha) was the main consumption type (55%), followed by cigarettes (43%) and chewing tobacco (2%) among tobacco users in our sample population. This is in contradistinction to other studies which consistently report higher cigarette consumption among tobacco users, including the major study on King Saud University (KSU) students, [27] which reported 48% cigarette use, compared to 36% water-pipe use amongst an overall tobacco use of 14.5% of a sample of more than 6000 KSU students. "Estarahat" and coffee shops were more used for tobacco use compared to food courts within shopping malls (OR = 13.2 and 6.7, respectively). This is also an expected outcome, as many people use such places as outlets for tobacco consumption, at a time when it is now prohibited in most other public places, including educational institutions, healthcare facilities, transportation facilities (especially airports and aircrafts) as well as food courts in public shopping malls.

Bivariate analyses showed that single Saudi males in different food facilities who have one or more smoking family member (father, brother, etc) were more prone to be smokers compared to other equivalent categories. Specifically, males in sampled food facilities were 8.9 times more liable to use tobacco compared to females (P < 0.0001). If any of the family members, especially more than two family members of study subjects were using tobacco, then the odds were much higher for a study subject to use tobacco at food facilities in our sample. Such conclusions were confirmed by results of multivariate logistic regression analysis which showed that gender (male), marital status (single), and type of food facility (Estaraha and coffee shop) were independent risk factors for tobacco consumption among visitors of food facilities.

Such results seem to generally concur/differ with prior reports. In fact, Mandil et al., [27] reported friends' smoking and being a single male to be among important risk factors for tobacco use among King Saud University (KSU) students. On the other hand, Al-Turki et al., [35] reported that low socio-economic status, low education, divorce, self-employment to be associated with smoking in more than 196,000 Eastern Province adults 30 years and above. About a decade earlier, Jarallah et al., [33] mentioned that being male, married, less educated, carrying out manual work, being an army officer/office-worker to be important predictors of tobacco use among 8310 inhabitants in three regions of Saudi Arabia; while Saeed et al., [32] reported that being a single male with higher education to be more associated with smoking among 1534 adult Saudis in Riyadh. Generally speaking, it seems that male gender and single status were reported from more than one report, while other factors are variable. Such differences may be attributed to different times, methodology, studied population where ours were predominantly young people in food facilities, spending time eating and consuming tobacco.


   Conclusion and Recommendations Top


Tobacco use is very common in food facilities in Riyadh as reflected by results of our study, especially among single males. Some of such facilities are even designed to host tobacco users, providing them with facilities which help such habit (e.g. shisha smoking in Estrahat). While many nations in the developed world (as in western Europe and northern America) have adopted and strictly implemented legislations for banning smoking in public places in general, food and entertainments facilities in specific, similar legislations in Saudi Arabia did not seem to find their way of implementation in food facilities. We should build on success encountered in banning smoking in airports, airplanes, shopping malls, market places, educational institutions and healthcare facilities, extending such bans to include food facilities, as well. We think that food facilities, including restaurants, coffee-shops and Estrahat should be smoke-free. This should be looked upon as encouraged not only for the sake of protection of non-smokers from Environmental Tobacco Smoke, but should also keep in mind the health of smokers themselves, en route of their quitting tobacco use, once they find less and less available public places where they can smoke.

 
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