Did COVID-19 stress, uncertainty stall anti-smoking push?

Cigarette Smoking
Posted at 8:22 AM, Mar 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-28 11:22:08-04

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.