Cigarette sales increase for the first time in 20 years

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Holy smokes! 

Cigarette sales in the U.S. increased in 2020 for the first time in 20 years, according to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission. 

The country’s largest cigarette manufacturers sold 203.7 billion cigarettes last year as the country grappled with stressors from the pandemic – up from 202.9 billion in 2019, the Tuesday FTC report said. 

Cigarette sales in the United States increased in 2020 for the first time in 20 years.  (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Tobacco companies in 2020 also boosted their spending on cigarette advertising, shelling out $7.84 billion – up from $7.62 billion in 2019. 

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The data was provided in the agency’s "Cigarette Report," which has been issued periodically since 1967. 

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Brands for sale at the Cigarettes R Cheaper store in San Pablo, California, in September 2016. (Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images / 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 in a press release. 

The FTC released another report focusing on smokeless tobacco, the sales of which also increased in 2020. 

This article first appeared in the New York Post 

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