Heated tobacco products- well known or well understood? A national cross-sectional study on knowledge, attitudes and usage in Pakistan

Hammad Atif Irshad, Hamzah Jehanzeb, Sajjan Raja, Umair Saleem, Wamiq Ali Shaikh, Akmal Shahzad, Atiqa Amirali, Nousheen Iqbal, Javaid Ahmed Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Heated tobacco products (HTPs) are reshaping the tobacco industry and just recently, a plan was sought to regularize HTPs in Pakistan. Pakistan provides an intriguing case study in this context, as tobacco use is deeply ingrained in public use. To ensure that future evidence-based policy recommendations are grounded in the public’s knowledge, attitudes, and usage of HTPs, a nationwide survey must be conducted. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online-based questionnaire nationwide in Pakistan. The questionnaire was validated and distributed through convenience sampling. The questionnaire assessed participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and usage of HTPs. Descriptive statistics was used to describe participants’ response and linear regression was performed at a p-value of < 0.05 using SPSS version 26. Results: In our sample of 1195 respondents (mean age of 33 years, 41.8% males and 58.2% females), 54.7% had previously heard about HTPs and 16.9% reported using HTPs at least once. Additionally, 38.24% were unsure of the legality of HTP use. Those with monthly household incomes of PKR 100,000 to 500,000, were more likely to have higher knowledge scores (OR:1.80[1.07–3.04]). On the other hand, males (OR:0.70 [0.55–0.89]) and respondents from Balochistan (OR:0.40 [0.22–0.71]) were more likely to have lower knowledge scores. The strongest motivators were the enjoyability of HTPs (55.73%) and usage as a cigarette alternative (54.64%), while the strongest deterrents were the negative health effects (82.68%) and potential for addiction (81.01%). Conclusion: Our study underscores the need for awareness campaigns and interventions concerning HTPs, given prevalent preconceived notions and mixed attitudes among respondents. It was found that women and households with higher incomes scored higher on knowledge. Subjective enjoyment and a substitute for cigarettes were important motivators, but the most mentioned deterrents were the possibility of addiction and the detrimental effects on health. These insights form the basis for informed policy making for non-cigarette tobacco products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1328
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Heated tobacco products
  • Knowledge
  • Non-cigarette
  • Public health


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