Cigarette sales increased in 2020 for first time in 20 years: FTC

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More people purchased cigarettes in 2020 than in the year prior, marking the first uptick in sales since 2000, the Federal Trade Commission revealed Tuesday.

The purchase of cigarettes increased from 202.9 billion in 2019 to 203.7 billion last year. The volume of smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and dipping tobacco sold in 2020 also increased to 126.9 million pounds, up from 126 million pounds in 2019, according to the FTC's smokeless tobacco report.

The FTC did not comment on the reason behind the change, though the Altria Group's CEO Billy Gifford credited the pandemic with the increase in sales.

"Fewer social engagements allowed for more tobacco-use occasions," Gifford told the Wall Street Journal.

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U.S. residents spent less money on travel, entertainment, and gas last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, freeing up cash for cigarette consumption. Other factors, such as bans on flavored vaping, may have prompted people to switch to cigarettes.

Smoking cigarettes has long been connected with an increase in various forms of cancer, primarily lung cancer. A recent study of roughly 410,000 U.S. adults who entered a federal health survey between 1997 and 2014 found those who quit smoking prior to the age of 45 decreased their excess chance of getting cancer by 87%. Those who quit by 35 eliminated the excess risk.

Blake Thomson, a researcher with the American Cancer Society who led the study, said while it is never too late to quit, abandoning the habit earlier on led to better health outcomes.

"If you're a smoker in your 30s, hopefully, these findings will speak to you," Thomson told United Press International.

"The take-home message is that it is never too early and never too late to quit," Dr. David Cooke, a spokesman for the American Lung Association, told United Press International.

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In light of the increase in smoking's popularity worldwide, some governments have taken additional steps to dissuade people from lighting up, such as the United Kingdom's proposal to add "smoking kills" labels to cigarette packaging.

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Tags: News, Smoking, Cigarettes, Tobacco, FTC

Original Author: Misty Severi

Original Location: Cigarette sales increased in 2020 for first time in 20 years: FTC

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