"How the pandemic got people smoking again" - Vox

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"How the pandemic got people smoking again" - Vox

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With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been pressured to develop bad habits such as overeating, alcoholism, doom scrolling, and impulse shopping. But one pandemic indulgence that stands out to medical officials and journalists is smoking, which damages lungs and puts one at an increased risk from dying of COVID-19. In an article for Vox, journalist Melinda Fakuade provides readers with an overview of the reasons why more people have taken up smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic in spite of the increased risk of death.

According to Fakuade, a major factor that explains the increased prevalence of smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic is the sheer boredom that comes with being unable to leave home without risking contracting COVID-19. Not being able to leave home and spend money on other amenities also increases one's access to discretionary spending, which can be used to fund cigarette smoking and other bad habits. Fakuade also emphasizes the role of stress, which induces people to take up bad habits such as smoking as a coping mechanism. According to her, smoking functions as a way of maintaining a routine and sense of control in a time of extreme instability. Finally, Fakuade considers whether or not the increased prevalence of smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a reflection of an internal "death wish," on the part of smokers.

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This item was submitted on November 13, 2020 by Carlos Castro using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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