Cigarette sales remain strong during coronavirus lockdown as Marlboro maker says stimulus checks and vaping restrictions are encouraging customers to stock up on smokes
- Marlboro manufacturer predicts cigarette sales may only drop by 2 percent this year
- Company CEO says coronavirus lockdowns have allowed smokers more time to light up
- Meanwhile, negative coverage of e-cigarettes has likely forced some vapers to switch back to tobacco
- The stress of the pandemic also means many may be less inclined to try and give up smoking this year; stimulus checks have helped keep many stocked up
- In 2019, the CDC reported 14 percent of American adults were smokers, down from more than 40 percent during the 1960s
The number of Americans giving up smoking appears to have fallen to its lowest level in years – and COVID-19 lockdowns could be the reason why.
On Tuesday, tobacco giant Altria revealed that they are expecting cigarette sales to fall by just 2 percent this year, down from an initial prediction of 6 percent.
Altria manufactures Marlboro, a brand which accounts for more than 40 percent of all cigarette sales across the United States.
Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Altria Chief Executive Billy Gifford said he believes stay-at-home orders are helping to keep people puffing away.
‘Fewer social engagements allow for more tobacco-use occasions,’ he stated.
He also claimed that pandemic, stimulus checks and a $600 a week jobless benefits have likely helped smokers stay stocked up on cigarettes even if they’ve lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Locked down, but lighting up! The number of Americans giving up smoking appears to have fallen to its lowest level in years – and COVID-19 lockdowns could be the reason why
Additionally, a flurry of bad publicity around e-cigarettes means some smokers are switching back to tobacco.
Gifford told the Wall Street Journal that e-cigarette sales were down a whopping 14 percent in the second quarter of 2020 when compared with the same time last year.
Those numbers could get even worse, according to the Journal, as ‘the FDA is requiring e-cigarette manufacturers to submit all products for agency review by September or they will take them off the US market’.
Meanwhile, many smokers say cigarettes help relieve their stress.
Millions may be less inclined to try and kick the habit given widespread anxiety around COVID-19 and subsequent societal changes.
It comes despite the fact doctors have claimed smokers face an increased risk of serious illness should they contract the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, Marlboro manufacturer Altria revealed that they are expecting cigarette sales to fall by just 2 percent this year, down from an initial prediction of 6 percent
The number of American adults who smoke has been steadily falling since the 1960s.
In that decade, more than 40 percent of people in the country were smokers, with 523 billion cigarettes smoked in 1963 alone.
In recent years, smoking rates have dropped even more dramatically.
Last year, the CDC reported that 14 percent of American adults are regular smokers.
In 2005, 21 percent of Americans over the age of 18 lit up frequently.
Data shows that smokers are most likely to be less educated and have a lower-than average income.
More than 36 percent of those who did not complete high school are smokers.
Meanwhile, 21 percent of all American adults who make less than $35,000 a year say they smoke on a regular basis.
Last year, the CDC reported that 14 percent of American adults are regular smokers