Tobacco smoking increased in spite of the global COVID-19 pandemic

The survey, conducted over a span of two weeks, included 777 American participants who were regarded as current cigar smokers.

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In a new survey appearing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that cigar smokers are increasing their habits, despite concerns pertaining to COVID-19.

The survey, conducted over a span of two weeks, included 777 American participants who were regarded as current cigar smokers.

“Combustible tobacco users appear to be at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19. This study examined cigar smokers’ perceived risk of COVID-19, quit intentions, and behaviors during the current pandemic,” the findings state.

The median age of the participants was nearly 40, the most prevalent race and gender were white and male.

Researchers at UNC concluded that tobacco use increased substantially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 40 percent of respondents said they consumed tobacco compared to just 17 percent of respondents, who stated they reduced consumption over the span of those two weeks.

Among the Black and African American respondents, they exhibited more intensions to quit tobacco use during the COVID-19 and were more likely to adhere to their attempt.

“Far more participants reported increasing their tobacco use since COVID-19 started (40.9%) vs. decreasing their tobacco use (17.8%),” according to Sarah Kowitt, co-author of the study, and her colleagues.

“More research is needed to understand how tobacco users are perceiving COVID-19 risks and changing their tobacco use behaviors,” Kowitt and her colleagues concluded in the findings.

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