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On a trip to the supermarket these days you’ll be hard pressed to find canned food, toilet paper or hand sanitizer on the shelves. But if you swing by the pharmacy department, there’ll be plenty of nicotine patches and gum gathering dust.

Despite growing concern about a link between nicotine use and more severe coronavirus infections, cigarette and vaping sales are booming. Smokers find nicotine use relaxing (even though stress actually decreases after quitting), so it’s no surprise that many of America’s 38+ million smokers are panic buying now. [...]