WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after COVID-19 upended lives, there are troubling signs that the pandemic stalled efforts to get Americans to stop smoking.
There were fewer calls made to quit-smoking hotlines last year. Some people reported smoking more. And there was an unusual bump in cigarette sales.
Experts say unemployment, delayed medical care and fewer anti-smoking announcements likely also played a role. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s too early to gauge the pandemic’s impact on smoking rates.
Despite a decades-long decline in the U.S. smoking rate, cigarettes are still responsible for an estimated 480,000 deaths a year.