The consumption of cigarettes in the United States increased last year for the first time in 20 years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in its “Cigarette Report.”

The report, released on Tuesday, Oct. 26, revealed that the largest tobacco companies in the country sold 203.7 billion cigarettes in 2020, as against 202.9 billion cigarettes in 2019.

The increase in the consumption if cigarettes is linked to the stress Americans have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to New York Post.

According to the report, tobacco companies also boosted their spending on cigarette advertising and promotion, fuelling up to $7.84 billion last year, as against $7.62 billion in 2019.

“Given the concerning trends highlighted in this report, including the first increase in cigarette sales in two decades, the Commission will continue to expand its approach in reporting shifts in the tobacco industry,” the FTC said in a press release.

The 2020 Smokeless Tobacco Report was also published, and this is the first time the commission includes information of the flavors of the companies’ smokeless tobacco products in its data.

Accordingly, the revenue from smokeless tobacco sales increased from $4.53 billion in 2019 to $4.82 billion in 2020.

The FTC publishes the “Cigarette Report” periodically since 1967 and the Smokeless Tobacco Report periodically since 1987.

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