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Cigarette sales rise for first time in 20 years, FTC reports

Cigarette sales increased by nearly 1 billion between 2019 and 2020, according to reports.

Cigarette sales across the United States increased over the last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. This is the first time an increase has occurred in two decades.

The number of cigarettes big corporation cigarette companies sold to wholesalers and retailers increased from 202.9 billion to 203.7 billion in 2020, according to the latest FTC Cigarette Report. That's almost a 1 billion increase.

In addition, smokeless tobacco sales increased from 126 million pounds in 2019 to 126.9 million pounds in 2020, the 2020 Smokeless Tobacco Report said. Revenue went up from $4.53 billion to $4.82 billion between 2019 and 2020.

It could be worth the mention that the increases occurred last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, as tobacco companies expanded their spending on advertisements.

That's right, the amount spent on cigarette advertising rose from $7.62 billion in 2019 to $7.84 billion in 2020. 

For the first time, the Commission is reporting sales of nicotine lozenges or nicotine pouches not containing tobacco and information on the flavors of the companies’ smokeless tobacco products.

RELATED: FDA authorizes first marketing of e-cigarettes, cites benefit for smokers

During 2020, cigarette companies in the U.S. sold 140.7 million units of nicotine lozenges or nicotine pouches for $420.5 million.

Menthol flavored smokeless tobacco claimed majority of all sales revenues with 54.5 percent, tobacco flavored, meaning no added flavor, comprised 43.4 percent and flavored products held the least in sales with 2.5 percent.

This year's report from FTC did not draw a correlation between the pandemic and cigarette sales, however, the North American Quitline Consortium reported that cigarette sales have been impacted by the pandemic.

The NAQC is a Phoenix-based, international non-profit that provides telephone-based tobacco cessation services that help tobacco users quit. 

RELATED: Big Tech's 'big tobacco moment': Senators take aim at TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat over kids' use

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