Survey: Smokers consume more tobacco amid pandemic

A Japanese survey shows smokers are consuming more tobacco products amid the pandemic due to frustration from anti-coronavirus restrictions.

The National Cancer Center Japan conducted an online survey in March asking 1,000 each of smokers and non-smokers aged 20 or older how they have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked whether working remotely or staying home for longer periods has changed their consumption of tobacco products, 18 percent of smokers said they were consuming more than before the pandemic.

As for why, 49 percent of these people cited higher stress levels stemming from both the increased risk of contracting the virus and changes in lifestyle and environment.

Thirty-four percent responded that they can smoke more freely at home, unlike at their workplaces, which have restrictions against it. Ten percent said that at home, they don't need to worry about what other people think of their smoking.

The smokers were also asked if they think people who smoke are more likely to develop severe COVID-19.

Thirty-seven percent said they do, while 10 percent said they don't.

The survey also shows 34 percent of non-smokers who live with smokers said they are now exposed to more secondhand smoke than before.

Officials at the national cancer center say there are a considerable number of people who are suffering from increased exposure to secondhand smoke amid the pandemic.

They say they plan to promote cessation of smoking by stressing that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19.