COVID-19 Prompts Many Cigarette Smokers to Quit

More than 1 million people in the United Kingdom have quit smoking since the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, an anti-smoking group said. Action on Smoking and Health said more than 40% of those surveyed say they gave up cigarettes in direct response to the coronavirus.  A separate poll by University College London found more people quit smoking in the first six months of the year than in any full year since 2007. Medical researchers across the globe say COVID-19 symptoms are worse in smokers who get the virus than in nonsmokers who get sick.  U.S. experts say hospitalized smokers with coronavirus are less likely to survive.  Menthol cigarettesAlso Thursday, the U.S. branch of Action on Smoking and Health joined an African American anti-smoking group in filing a court action against the Food and Drug Administration. FILE – Packs of menthol cigarettes and other tobacco products line shelves at a store in San Francisco, May 17, 2018.Both groups demand the FDA carry out its 2011 mandate stating that “removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States.” Former President Barack Obama signed a law in 2009 banning flavored cigarettes from store shelves, but the law excluded menthol for more research. “By continuing to delay, the FDA and the U.S. government are failing to protect the health of U.S. citizens, particularly African Americans, and the U.S. is also falling behind the global trend as countries around the world are increasingly banning menthol,” ASH attorney Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy said. Menthol cigarettes are popular among Black smokers, and anti-tobacco activists accuse tobacco companies of targeting African Americans. The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council says smoking kills about 45,000 Black men and women in the U.S. every year. 

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