Cigarette sales climbed last year for the first time in decades, FTC says
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its periodical cigarette report on Tuesday, revealing cigarette sales rose last year for the first time in 20 years.
According to the report, the largest cigarette companies in the U.S. sold 203.7 billion cigarettes to U.S. wholesalers and retailers in 2020. The year before, that number was 202.9 billion.
The FTC also found an increase in spending on cigarette advertising. In 2019, companies spent $7.62 billion promoting the product. In 2020, they spent $7.84 billion.
Packs of cigarettes at the Cigarettes R Cheaper store in San Pablo, Calif. on Tues. Sept. 6, 2016. (Photo By Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
"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.
This uptick follows the results of a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal "Nutrients" that found Americans drank and smoked more during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Of the more than 2,700 participants, researchers saw a 9% increase in smoking.
The FTC also shared results from its 2020 smokeless tobacco report, which showed another uptick. Smokeless tobacco sales increased from 126 million pounds in 2019 to 126.9 million pounds in 2020.
Companies recorded a profit of $4.82 billion from smokeless tobacco last year. In 2019, they made $4.53 billion.
This story was reported from Atlanta.