Publication date: Sep 19, 2023
Prior studies have implied that smokers may have changed their smoking behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, little is known about changes in smoking behaviour and correlates of change due to the pandemic among persons of migrant origin compared with the general population. Population-based cross-sectional studies with comparable study protocols and measures, one focusing on persons of migrant origin living in Finland (n = 3587, response rate 60%) and the other on the general Finnish population (n = 3444, response rate 56%), were utilised. The outcome measure was self-reported change in smoking behaviour due to COVID-19 among current smokers. Explanatory factors included sociodemographic-, health-, and COVID-19-related factors. Multinomial logistic regression was used in the analyses. Most of the current smokers reported no change in their smoking behaviour. In the adjusted model, younger age was positively associated with increased smoking, while region of origin (Russia, Africa, Asia, and Latin America) and worrying about getting infected with COVID-19 were associated with decreased smoking among persons of migrant origin. In the general population, younger age, female sex, being other than employed/student, increased loneliness, and decreased contact with close ones were associated with increased smoking, while reduced working capacity and worries that someone close to the respondent will be infected with COVID-19 were associated with decreased smoking. The findings of this study contribute to better identification of at-risk populations in future crises situations. This will allow for more efficient targeting and tailoring of health promotion services, including smoking cessation.