It’s been well established that smoking can cause severe complications in COVID-19 infections.
Yet major tobacco companies are reporting surprise increases in their profit targets as sales improve.
Imperial Brands Plc, the world’s largest producer of cigars and cut tobacco, said it’s because staying home amid the pandemic means more opportunities to smoke.
Some smokers are also reporting an increase in anxiety that’s led them to greater tobacco use.
According to Reuters, data suggests there was a bump in smokers trying to quit at the outset of the pandemic, but those efforts waned as the lockdowns continued for months.
Now smoking rates, which have been declining for years, are doing so more slowly than in previous years.
But COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be the only contributor.
E-cigarettes have been blamed for serious lung infections, even in very young users, causing some to return to traditional cigarettes.