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CDC: Smoking rate dropped in first year of pandemic

The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw more Americans drinking heavily or using illicit drugs — but apparently not smoking (Source: “US adult smoking rate fell during first year of pandemic,” Associated Press, March 17).
 
U.S. cigarette smoking dropped to a new all-time low in 2020, with 1 in 8 adults saying they were current smokers, according to survey data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult e-cigarette use also dropped, the CDC reported.
 
CDC officials credited public health campaigns and policies for the decline, but outside experts said tobacco company price hikes and pandemic lifestyle changes likely played roles.
 
“People who were mainly social smokers just didn’t have that going on any more,” said Megan Roberts, an Ohio State University researcher focused on tobacco product use among young adults and adolescents.
 
What’s more, parents who suddenly were home with their kids full-time may have cut back. And some people may have quit following reports that smokers were more likely to develop severe illness after a coronavirus infection, Roberts added.