We’re excited to share that our Founder and Clinical Director Matt Lundquist was recently quoted in The New York Times. In the article “Smokers Might Be Lighting Up More,” Matt explains how people tend to revert to familiar habits like smoking during periods of stress and anxiety such as the pandemic.
Beginning with interviews with several people who have started smoking more during quarantine, writer Monica Corcoran Harel traces how tobacco sales figures show a rise in smoking this past year. While tobacco sales have seen a strong decline for years, that decline recently flattened.
This isn’t that surprising considering the stress of COVID-19 and the resulting social isolation of the pandemic, which many of those interviewed cite as their trigger for smoking. Drawing on his experience treating patients through the pandemic, Matt weighs in on how uncertain and anxiety-producing times can impact people’s habits. As he explains, “When things are scary, people revert to that which is comforting and familiar, like going out to buy a pack of cigarettes.”
Though the article focuses mainly on smoking, Matt also observes that the impulse to seek comfort can include other habits, as well as reaching out for connection with familiar people like, as he previously explored on WNYC, exes. This especially happened last spring when the panic about COVID-19 was at its height in New York City. Matt reflects in the article, “There was absolute fear in New York…People began drinking more and reverting to unhealthy eating habits.”
Read more of “Smokers Might Be Lighting Up More” in The New York Times.