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Revenue from cigarette sales soars for first time in 2 decades

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission, revenue from cigarette sales increased for the first time in two decades.

Revenue from those sales went from approximately $4.5 billion in 2019 to upwards of $4.8 billion in 2020.

It’s possible the rise in sales may be tied to COVID-19. Smoking has been steadily declining for 30 years. But, those three decades of progress were essentially wiped out when the pandemic hit.

News 8 spoke with Dr. Shelley Johns at the Regenstrief Institute. Johns explained why more people may be turning to a potentially deadly habit during this time. 

“I feel like most people are just emotionally dysregulated and emotionally overwhelmed and just tired from all of this,” Johns said. “And so what do we want? We want a quick fix. And smoking often makes people feel better right after they have the cigarette.”

However, the reprieve from stress is transient. Nicotine is a stimulant. In fact, Johns says, it’s not even the cigarette that brings the temporary feelings of relaxation. Rather, it’s the deep breathing behavior that goes along with each inhale and exhale.

For those who want to quit smoking, Johns recommends talking with your primary care provider. She also recommends reaching out to the smoking cessation resource hotline 1-800-QUIT-NOW.