COVID Lockdowns Got People Smoking More

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay reporter

TUESDAY, March 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Spring lockdowns from the pandemic last year triggered an unwanted side effect: New research shows more Americans turned to tobacco and nicotine as they battled boredom, anxiety and disruption of regular routines.

Between April and May 2020, the study authors conducted telephone interviews with American adults who used cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

During the period of investigation, nearly 90% of Americans were in some form of state foreclosure. At the time of interview, all respondents were voluntarily isolating themselves in their homes unless they had to go out for essential reasons.

Almost all of the study participants reported increased stress due to the pandemic – citing fears about the virus, uncertainty at work, and the effects of isolation on mental health – and stress was the main one. due to the increase in nicotine and tobacco consumption among respondents.

A drop in consumption was less common, but was more likely among ‘social’ tobacco users, who said their reduction in consumption was due to less personal contact with others during the lockdown and a fear of sharing tobacco / nicotine products during the pandemic.

Store closures have had different impacts on the use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Cigarettes were widely available at essential businesses, such as convenience stores and gas stations, but access to vaping products was more limited as the vaping stores that sold them were considered non-essential and forced to close. according to researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public. Health, New York.

This has led some e-cigarette users to purchase products online, but they often faced long waiting times. As a result, some people who used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes increased their smoking rates, the study’s authors said in the report, which will be published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

“Pandemic response policies that intentionally or inadvertently restrict access to low-risk products – through availability, supply chains, or even slowing postal services – while leaving more harmful products widely accessible can have unintended consequences that should be taken into account when making policy, ”says study leader Author Daniel Giovenco, assistant professor of sociomedical sciences, said in a press release from Columbia.

More information

The American Cancer Society explains how to quit smoking.

SOURCE: Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, press release, March 4, 2021

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