EU’s tobacco epidemic exacerbated by Brussels’ short-sightedness


Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) say they are cautiously optimistic that the “acute phase” of the interminable COVID-19 pandemic could be over by July 2022, based on rising vaccination rates and global immunity levels.

At the same time, however, it is increasingly clear that the pandemic has exacerbated other existing public health issues.

Specifically, rates of alcohol consumption and smoking have increased in many places around the world. In the US, the first year of Covid restrictions saw an increase in cigarette consumption for the first time in two decades, with more than 203 billion cigarettes sold in 2020. Calls to quit-smoking hotlines were down 27 percent, and a quarter of smokers reported smoking more than usual on account of pandemic stress levels.

A similar story is playing out across the world. In England alone, a 25 percent rise in young adult smokers saw more than 650,000 young people pick up the deadly habit in the first national lockdown. In France, nearly 27% of current smokers reported increased tobacco use since the first lockdown in spring 2020, while in Germany the percentage of the over-14 population who smoke has increased since the end of 2019. As adults light up in growing numbers, meanwhile, children everywhere have now been exposed to higher amounts of second-hand smoke in the home, all with devastating consequences to public health.

Read full article here. – 2022-01-07.

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