Report on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Smoking Cessation

North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC)

Even though COVID-19—a respiratory infection—killed more people than any other infectious disease in 2020, cigarette smokers have continued to smoke despite the known risk of respiratory disease and the many other health threats that smoking brings. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the US, with 480,000 people dying from tobacco-related illness every year. The pandemic has hit so hard that a decades-long decline in cigarette sales completely stopped last year. People with mental health and substance abuse disorders are especially at risk.

A new report released on March 12, from the North American Quitline Consortium, confirms a drastic decline in requests for stop-smoking services. The group compiled data from 53 state and territorial quitlines in the U.S., including the 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico and Guam.