Jamie Hickey, a 41-year-old personal trainer based in Pennsylvania, hadn’t smoked in eight years, but he caved when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “The boredom was the biggest part of it — just wanting something to do,” he said. “It broke up the monotony of the day, and if we weren’t in quarantine, I don’t think I would’ve ever gone back.”
The pandemic has encouraged us to pick up some pretty bad habits: bingeing (of television, food, and alcohol varieties), ghosting, doomscrolling, impulse shopping— but one that seems particularly counterintuitive is smoking. The choice to smoke feels strange right now for so many reasons: It’s an unnecessary expense in a time that has made our wallets tight, nicotine withdrawals can make users jittery,and it puts our lung health at risk.