Report: Pandemic, vaping bans have more people smoking traditional cigarettes

Health

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A combination of federal restrictions on e-cigarettes and circumstances of the pandemic have resulted in more Americans smoking, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

According to that report, tobacco executive, Altria, which manufactures Marlboro, had expected U.S. cigarette sales to decline by 4% to 6% this year. But now, the company expects sales to fall by 2% to 3.5%.

The company states in the wake of federal restrictions on e-cigarette flavors, Americans are switching back from vaping devices to traditional cigarettes.

Altria Chief Executive Billy Gifford also told analysts increased unemployment benefits and stimulus checks have made it easier for low and middle-income smokers to purchase cigarettes. Many smokers also have extra money that they would have spent on travel and entertainment in the first months of the pandemic.

As a result, the company says it is expanding into other U.S. markets to become more available over the next year and a half.

At the same time, Bloomberg News reports one of the top e-cigarette manufacturers, Juul, has filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue selling its product in the U.S.

A company executive says this is part of Juul’s efforts to move past the recent controversies over e-cigarettes, while remaining an alternative to those who smoke traditional cigarettes.

Critics are calling on the FDA to reject Juul’s application.

Health experts would remind you being a cigarettes or e-cigarettes user puts you at increased risk for health problems, including complications from COVID-19.

New research from the Journal of Adolescent Health shows one in three young adults are at risk for a severe case of the virus.

Researchers looked at more than 8,000 participants ages 18-25, and found those who smoked e-cigarettes or cigarettes made up about 16% of the study. They say those participants were found to be “medically vulnerable” for COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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