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Floating cigarette butts in bucket in Arcadia, Florida. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The number of annual cigarette sales increased in 2020 for the first time in two decades, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission.

Driving the news: The number of cigarettes sold by the largest cigarette companies in the U.S. increased from 202.9 billion in 2019 to 203.7 billion in 2020, according to the most recent FTC Cigarette Report.

  • Smokeless tobacco, which includes chewing tobacco, sales increased from 126 million pounds in 2019 to 126.9 million pounds in 2020.
  • The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion also increased, with $7.62 billion spent in 2019, compared to $7.84 billion in 2020.
  • 2020's sales are still significantly below all prior years, except for 2019.

The big picture: The FTC has issued the Cigarette Report periodically since 1967, according to the commission.

  • "Given the concerning trends highlighted in this report, including the first increase in cigarette sales in two decades, the Commission will continue to expand its approach in reporting shifts in the tobacco industry," the FTC said in a statement.

Go deeper: FDA approves first e-cigarettes

Go deeper

Black Friday in-store shopping up from 2020 but trails pre-pandemic levels

Shoppers carry their purchases during Black Friday shopping at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, Ill., on Nov. 26. Photo: Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

More shoppers flocked to stores on Black Friday this year compared to last, but online shopping was lower than expected, according to data from Friday.

Driving the news: Online shopping was on the lower end of what was expected, largely because people had been ringing up their shopping carts earlier in the year in an effort to skirt potential supply chain issues, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

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