European governments are ensuring that smokers and vapers can keep up their habits while they hunker down at home in lockdowns to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland are keeping tobacco kiosks open along with essential shops such as grocery stores and pharmacies, while the rest are closed.

Continued access to cigarettes and vapes will prevent withdrawals or anxiety attacks while smokers are forced to stay home. However, the World Health Organization has said it’s possible they may have an increased risk of more severe reactions to Covid-19, just as smoking makes people more susceptible to respiratory illnesses.

Over the past month, Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc have both fallen about 21%, while the Euro Stoxx 50 is down 36% and the S&P 500 declined 29%.

Smokers should use the coronavirus as further motivation to quit and build up their body’s defenses, or switch to alternative products to lower their risk, the U.K.’s Action on Smoking and Health has said.

Nevertheless, there are signs even tobacco is being stockpiled, along with toilet paper, food and soap.

“People have been buying cartons and cartons of cigarettes in the last few days,” said Sascha Kuenzler, who owns a kiosk shop in downtown Zurich. “Many of them have also switched to loose tobacco so they can roll their own.”

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, has campaigned and given money in support of a nationwide ban on flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco.

Read full article here.

Corinne Gretler – Bloomberg – March 17, 2020.

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