The pandemic seems to have had a real impact on two American habits: Americans are smoking less, but they're eating more sweets. The details:
- Candy: US consumers spent way more than usual on sweets (gum, chocolate, etc.) in 2021, reports Axios. The National Confectioners Association puts the figure at a record $36.9 billion, and more than inflation is at play: That's up 11% from 2020 and 15% from 2019. What's more, sales are projected to keep rising. The best guess: People tend to reach for sweets in tough times, with Axios noting that the last such noticeable spike in sales took place in 2009 during the recession.
- Smoking: Maybe some of those candy sales are from smokers giving up the habit? The CDC reports that smoking in the US declined to an all-time low in 2020, with about 12% of Americans describing themselves as cigarette smokers, per the AP. For context, the figure was 42% in 1965. The CDC figures that people who smoke only in social situations had fewer opportunities to do so, and those stuck at home may not have wanted to expose families to secondhand smoke. Price hikes also probably factored in. About 19% of Americans used some type of tobacco product in 2020 (including e-cigs), down from 21% the previous year.
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