Introduction. COVID-19 lockdown in Italy resulted in increased smoking consumption, mainly associated with mental distress. This study aims to update previous findings investigating changes in smoking intensity during the whole COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods. This analysis was carried out within the “LOST IN ITALY” (“LOckdown and lifeSTyle IN ITALY”) and “LOST IN TOSCANA” studies on 880 smokers with information collected during main pandemic peaks. Changes in cigarettes/day were investigated in association with survey-periods, socio-demographic and psychological characteristics through a linear mixed-model.
Results. Net of psychological distress and socio-demographic variables, in comparison to pre-pandemic period cigarettes/day increased by 1.16 during lockdown, and remained over half higher subsequently. In the overall period, an increase of >1 cigarette/day was also associated to lower education, older age, male gender and psychotropics drugs use.
Conclusions. After 2 years of pandemic, cigarettes/day have not yet returned to the prepandemic
levels, mainly due to socio-demographic factors, but also to nicotine addiction, that tends to stabilize consumption.