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Mexico is one of the countries most affected by COVID-19. Studies have found that smoking behaviors have been impacted by the pandemic as well; however, results have varied across studies, and it remains unclear what is causing the changes. This study of an open cohort of smokers recruited from a consumer panel (n = 2753) examined changes in cigarettes per day (CPD), daily vs. non-daily smoking, recent quit attempts, perceived stress, depression, and perceived severity of COVID-19 at two points during the pandemic: March and July 2020. Differences in CPD between waves were estimated with Poisson regression using generalized estimating equations (GEE). Differences in perceived stress were estimated with linear regression using GEE, and differences in recent quit attempts, depression, and perceived severity of COVID-19 were estimated using separate logistic regression GEE models. Rates of depression were higher in July compared to March (AOR = 1.55, 95% C.I. 1.31-1.85), and the likelihood of recent quit attempt was lower in July compared to March (AOR = 0.85, 95% C.I. 0.75-0.98). There was no statistically significant change in CPD, daily smoking, or perceived stress. Perceived COVID-19 severity for oneself increased significantly (AOR: 1.24, 95% C.I. 1.02-1.52); however, the perceived COVID-19 severity for smokers remained constant. Our study suggests that as the COVID-19 pandemic expanded in Mexico, smoking frequency remained stable, and quit attempts decreased, even as adult smokers increasingly perceived infection with COVID-19 for themselves as severe. These results can aid in the development of health communication strategies to educate smokers about their risk for COVID-19, potentially capitalizing on concerns that stem from this syndemic of communicable and smoking-related non-communicable disease.

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).

APA Citation

Loud, E. E., Gallegos-Carrillo, K., Barrientos-Gutiérrez, I., Arillo-Santillán, E., Lambert, V. C., Zavala-Arciniega, L., & Thrasher, J. F. (2021). Smoking Behaviors, Mental Health, and Risk Perceptions during the Beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic among Mexican Adult Smokers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(20), 10905.