Abstract: Background: Tobacco use has considerably short- and long-term effects on human health. It has increasingly become popular among youth worldwide. Saudi Arabia is not exceptional as tobacco raising concern over the possible prevalence factors and various ways of mitigation of the effects to the youth. This study therefore aims to assess the prevalence, characteristics in terms of knowledge and attitude and factors associated with tobacco use among male and female university students. Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted among 165 students, 124 male and 41 female and data collected using a web designed and administered questionnaire. The prevalence and predictors of tobacco use and the association between important socio-demographic factors such as sex, peers smoking, home mate smoking and close friend smoking and the various factors that induce tobacco use were studied. Results: The prevalence of tobacco use among students was high, approximately 33.9 % which was higher than tobacco use prevalence in other neighboring countries. Prevalence of tobacco use among male students was found to be 34.6 %, 18 % higher than that in female counterparts. 40 % of the student smokers smoke utmost three cigarettes in a day. A good number of students start smoking at high school level and carries on with this through to college. Factors that induce tobacco use among the students include exam anxiety, leisure, fun with peer smokers, personal and professional problems, exposure from family background and addiction. Conclusion: Tobacco smoking is a public health problem among college students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a majority of the student smokers are willing and ready to stop smoking. Future studies should use available resources to shift from repeatedly addressing the prevalence of smoking behaviors among college students in Saudi Arabia to focusing on intervention and prevention strategies to curb the same.
Keywords: Smoking, University, Students, Saudi Arabia