Smoking rates increased during the global COVID-19 pandemic, notes several reports and statistical data released by the United States government.
Fast Company reported that the COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase in smoking, based on numbers showing fewer smokers having connected to smoking quitline services.
According to data from the National American Quitline Consortium, the calendar year of 2020 saw 1-800-QUIT-NOW services decreased by 27 percent. That’s over 190,000 calls.
“Quitting has never been more important,” says Anne DiGiulio, the national lung policy director for the American Lung Association, via the report from Fast Company. “COVID and [the response to it] created new barriers.”
“Messaging on the importance of smoking cessation during the pandemic and the availability of effective cessation services needs to be amplified,” adds Bailey. “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our progress on smoking cessation in 2020, but this does not need to be the case in 2021.
“Changes in smoking cessation and cigarette sales during the pandemic have implications for smokers, public health, and the health care system,” the actual report notes.
“Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 480,000 deaths annually.”