Some say that smoking reduced in the United States because of Covid 19. And some others say that it is not true. Well, a new study that looked into the smoking of the people in the United States shows that smoking cessation activity declined among adults after the onset of COVID-19 and persisted for over a year.
The study pointed out that declines in attempts to quit smoking were largest among persons experiencing disproportionately negative outcomes during COVID-19. This included Black people, middle-aged people, people with comorbidities and lower educated people.
Lead author Dr. Priti Bandi said that it was essential to re-engage persons who smoke in serious attempts to quit smoking. A typical smoker tries to quit on average six times before being successful. The author mentioned that it was an urgent public health priority to help people stoop smoking. Tobacco usage increased the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes and at least 12 cancers.
Dr. Priti Bandi is principal scientist, risk factors & screening surveillance research at the American Cancer Society.
The Researchers used 2011 to 2020 data on close to 800 thousand individuals who had smoked in the past year from the nationally representative Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System(BRFSS) survey. Representative retail scanner sales data between January 2017 and July 2021 for 1004 unique nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) universal produce codes in 31 U.S. states from NielsenIQ were also used.
The results showed the annual prevalence of past-year quit attempts among U.S. smokers decreased for the first time since 2011. It decreased from 65.2 per cent in 2019 to 63.2 percent in 2020. The study found that the decline began in the first quarter of 2020.
The report showed that relative decreases between 2019 and 2020 were the largest among persons known to have experienced disproportionately negative outcomes during the pandemic, including middle-aged persons, those with 2 or more comorbidities, Black persons, and lower educated persons.
They also observed that sales of NRT products declined by between one per cent and 13 per cent compared to expected sales. The decline was noticed immediately after COVID-19 onset (April 2020) and persisted through the first quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, chief scientific officer at the American Cancer Society Dr. William Dahut said that the results showed how critical it was for clinicians and healthcare systems to support persons who smoke with evidence-based quitting strategies. “Such efforts must be particularly targeted to persons disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Black persons, middle-aged persons, those with comorbidities and lower educated persons,” Dashut said.
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Lisa Lacasse was quoted as saying that everything should be done to ensure that individuals trying to quit have access to the cessation services they need. “By ensuring Medicaid programs cover all FDA-approved cessation treatments and services in every state and that state tobacco prevention and cessation programs are adequately funded, we can help more people quit and help reduce cancer disparities driven by this deadly product,” Lacasse said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.