NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A new study is shedding light on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected smokers.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center took part in a study that looked at the changing smoking habits of 700 current and former smokers from Boston, Pittsburgh, and Nashville.

Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Scott Lee said, "Around 70% felt that smoking increased their risk of COVID complications and consistent with that, around 40% wanted to reduce their smoking.”

Even though the majority thought that smoking could cause complications, it didn’t put a stop to smoking for most.

Dr. Lee added, "About a third did smoke less, about a third smoked the same. But about a third actually increased their smoking.”

But why the increase for a third of smokers? Dr. Lee says it is due to a factor everyone faced during the pandemic. Stress.

"It was the number one factor that our respondents reported as being the cause for increased smoking," Dr. Lee said.

Dr. Lee added that 11% quit smoking and 28 percent relapsed during the study. If you or someone you know would like to quit smoking, you can visit icovidquit.org

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