A new poll from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World shows that the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have led to higher smoking and tobacco usage rates.
“Nearly 40 percent of smokers increased use of these products in recent weeks, which could equate to elevated use by more than 50 million smokers in the five countries polled,” according to a press release. Smokers have upped their tobacco and nicotine usage as a way to cope with stress and mental health issues during the social distancing orders.
The survey looks at tobacco and nicotine users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, South Africa and India. Rates of tobacco usage rose more in countries where the sale of tobacco products has been banned due to the virus outbreak, such as South Africa and India.
“When this pandemic curve subsides, there will be a heavy mental and physical toll on all people,” said Derek Yach, president of the foundation. “Prior to the Covid crisis, smokers were at greatest risk of lung cancer, chronic lung disease and heart attacks. They will continue to have these excess risks as the pandemic recedes. Never forget that 7 million people will die globally this year as a result of their tobacco use.”