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wyoming smoking

One Unexpected (And Stupid) Result From the Coronavirus: More Smoking

in News/Health care/Coronavirus

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Perhaps the stupidest development to result from the coronavirus a smoking resurgence in the country.

Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reports that although the national smoking rate hasn’t increased, the decrease in cigarette sales have slowed from a projected decline of 4% to 6% to a decline estimated at 2% to 3.5%.

The reason, according to the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, is a combination of fewer opportunities for people to congregate outside the home and the arrival of government stimulus checks.

“Fewer social engagements allow for more tobacco-use occasions,” said Altria Chief Executive Billy Gifford on an earnings call Tuesday.

More tobacco-use occasions cost money.  In Wyoming, smoking-caused health care costs $258 million per year and smoking-caused losses in productivity cost $202.4 million per year.

The news that some recipients of government stimulus checks are spending the money on cigarettes could be depressing for many reasons.

One, people would use stimulus checks for cigarettes. Two, smoking is bad for your health. Three, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.

The University of Maryland Medical System reports that smoking not only increases your risk for complications if you get the virus, it can also make you more likely to contract the disease in the first place.

“The Centers for Disease Control categorizes smokers as “immunocompromised,” which means having a weakened immune system,” they write. 

“This puts smokers in the same group as those receiving cancer treatments or who have HIV. The CDC cautions that people who are immunocompromised are at risk to get more severe COVID-19 symptoms,” they said.

In 2017, 18.7% of adults in Wyoming smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1%.

In 2017, 5.7% of adults in Wyoming used e-cigarettes and 9.1% used smokeless tobacco.

In 2015 (the latest data available), 29.6% of high school students in Wyoming used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 24.1%.

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Wyoming’s Smoking Age To Rise To 21

in News/Legislature
cigarettes tobacco

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s legal age for consuming nicotine products will match up with the federal government’s under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday.

Senate File 50 was one of 29 bills from the Legislature’s recent budget session signed into law. It would prohibit the sale of any products containing nicotine, including vaping materials, to people age 21 and older.

Prior to the bill’s approval, the legal age for people to use nicotine was 18. When the federal government set the age at 21 earlier this year, there was no way for Wyoming authorities to enforce the law because Wyoming’s law set the age at 18.

Under the law, anyone caught selling or delivering nicotine products to a person under the age of 21 could be fined up to $250 for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

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