From March 2020 to January 2021, scientists from the United States found that cigarette purchases among regular smokers decreased by 20-30%, and smoking cessation rates increased by about 10%. At the same time, heavy smokers not only bought cigarettes less often, but also reduced their number. The study was conducted by experts from the University of California at San Diego.
The pandemic has led to reduced physical activity, increased stress, and poor mental well-being, all of which are commonly associated with increased tobacco use. However, scientists are finding evidence of a steady decline in smoking, and this may be one of the few positive effects of the pandemic. The results of the study suggest that COVID-19 can lead to a lasting reduction in smoking.
Scientists hope that the risks associated with COVID-19 and smoking may help some smokers overcome a key barrier to quitting – the pleasure of smoking is felt in the present, but health problems usually wait for us in the future.
This study, for the first time, uses data on cigarette sales to both smokers and non-smokers during the pandemic rather than survey data. The data in the study was made available through Spenderlog, an application that allows users to track their spending on groceries. The researchers analyzed the grocery shopping data of 4,042 Danish residents who use the Spenderlog app.