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The recent increase of more workers returning to the office kept traditional cigarettes on a significant year-over-year decline in the latest Nielsen survey of convenience stores released Tuesday. Industry analysts said the 11% volume decline for traditional cigarettes reflects the impact on the industry of the COVID-19 pandemic and the later economic reopening.

A key 2020 industry development was smokers’ increasing their purchases in the early months of the pandemic in response to statewide stay-at-home orders, including in North Carolina.