Officials say cigarette smoking increased during pandemic

National News

(WTAJ) — Experts said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unhealthy and unintended consequences.

The Federal Trade Commission said cigarette sales rose across the nation last year for the first time in the past 20 years.

The report included the following figures:

  • The number of cigarettes that the largest cigarette companies in the U.S. sold to wholesalers and retailers nationwide jumped from 202.9 billion in 2019 to 203.7 billion in 2020.
  • Smokeless tobacco sales increased from 126.0 million in 2019 to 126.9 million in 2020 – noting that menthol makes up for more than half of those sales
  • The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion increased from $7.62 billion in 2019 to $7.7 billion in 2020.

The data doesn’t specify why sales are up, but the rise coincides with similar shifts in consumer behavior prompted by the pandemic, which increased feelings of isolation, stress and uncertainty.

The Federal Trade Commission works to protect and educate consumers. For more information on their tobacco report, head to their website.

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