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Cigarette sales rose during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — the first increase in 20 years.

Meanwhile, millions in New Jersey continue to smoke. In fact, 10.8% of residents in 2020 were found to be smokers, according to AmericasHealthRankings.org.

For those wanting to quit, options are limited. There’s the gum. The patch. Lozenges. There’s Chantix (varenicline), a drug introduced in the mid-2000s. But besides vaping products, which are not considered a safe alternative, nothing new has offered hope in years. Researchers based in Princeton are hoping to change that. [...]