Pandemic-related anxiety, boredom, and irregular routines were cited as major drivers of increased nicotine and tobacco use during the initial COVID-19 “lockdown,” according to research just released by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
The study highlights ways that public health interventions and policies can better support quit attempts and harm reduction, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The findings are published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.
Between April-May 2020, the researchers conducted telephone interviews with adults across the United States who use cigarettes and/or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as e-cigarettes. Participants in the study were recruited using an advertisement campaign on Facebook and Instagram.
During this window, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population experienced some form of state lockdown, with 40 states ordering non-essential businesses to close and 32 states enacting mandatory stay-at-home orders. At the time of their interviews, all participants were voluntarily isolating at home unless required to leave the house.
Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc – Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health – March 5, 2021.