Monday, 3 Oct 2022

More Danes quit smoking during COVID, study finds

Danish smokers bought less tobacco and more of them quit smoking than usual during the COVID pandemic, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen. The result comes as a surprise given that mental health and exercise habits waned during the lockdown, according to a researcher behind the study.

More smokers than usual decided to quit during the COVID pandemic. Those who kept puffing also purchased significantly less tobacco, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen that monitored cigarette purchases from the March 2020 lockdown through the end of the year.

Among other things, the figures demonstrate that regular smokers bought 20 percent fewer cigarettes each week than before the pandemic. And, the number of those who quit increased by ten percent from the year prior.

“The big picture is that cigarette consumption fell during the pandemic. It comes as somewhat of a surprise, as one would expect to see people smoking more during a pandemic, a time when people felt worse psychologically and had fewer opportunities to move about. Yet, the opposite occurred,” says Associate Professor Toke Reinholt Fosgaard of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food and Resource Economics, the study’s first author.

The scientific article has just been published in Nature Communications.

More severe COVID

The most obvious reason for the decline in tobacco consumption according to the researcher is that smokers are at greater risk of developing severe COVID symptoms, hospitalization and, in the worst case, of dying from the virus.

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