Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Tobacco Induced Diseases









During the last two decades, several studies have been published regarding the prevalence of tobacco smoking among college students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This systematic review and meta-analysis is intended to determine and examine the smoking prevalence in Saudi college students from 2010-2018.


PubMed, Science Direct, APA PsycNET, Web of Science, and CINAHL were used to search for published articles reporting the smoking prevalence among Saudi college students. After eliminating irrelevant articles, investigators independently assessed the quality of each article, based on Russell & Gregory guidelines. MetaXL software was used to calculate the pooled prevalence among included studies, using the IVhert model. Heterogeneity among the included studies was evaluated, using I2 statistic. Sensitivity analyses were conducted between male and female genders.


Of the 295 published articles, 29 articles used a cross-sectional design to determine smoking prevalence among Saudi college students. Most of the studies were conducted in Riyadh at health-science-related colleges; the rest were performed in different cities and colleges. The meta-analysis showed that the pooled estimate of smoking prevalence among college students in the KSA was 17% (95% CI: 11-23%). Saudi male students had a prevalence rate of 26% (95% CI: 24-29%), whereas for Saudi female students the prevalence was 5% (95% CI: 3-7%).


Smoking among Saudi college students was higher than in the majority of regional countries (e.g. Iran). Saudi male students had a higher smoking prevalence than Saudi female college students. Additionally, studies that reported a high prevalence targeted students in specific disciplines. Public health authorities in the KSA should develop a surveillance system that monitors the prevalence of tobacco smoking on campuses. A surveillance system of monitoring tobacco use among Saudi college students could be beneficial in determining the degree of the tobacco problem and in improving current tobacco control programs.


This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Original Publication Citation

Alotaibi, S. A., Alsuliman, M. A., & Durgampudi, P. K. (2019). Smoking tobacco prevalence among college students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Tobacco Induced Diseases, 17, 35. doi:10.18332/tid/105843