Dozens of people running, by bike or motorbike, huddled at the door of a shop to get cigarettes in full quarantine. The images were recorded in San Juan but it is a product that is scarce in several parts of the country.
Since the beginning of preventive and compulsory social isolation, tobacco use increased by about 40%, according to a survey made by the Observatory of Addictions and Problem Consumption of the Ombudsman’s Office of the Province of Buenos Aires. However tobacco companies are not producing and the stock is insufficient to provide the whole country. When you run the ball that there is stock in some kiosks and service stations citizens are desperately rushing to secure their package. However, the price they will have to pay is much higher than what it was worth before the pandemic (now around $300 and $400). In addition, others take the time to resell them at $500.Already several days ago the sector sent a letter to several ministers of the national government to include the activity among the excepts of isolation: «Our sector provides employment to more than 200 thousand people directly, and more than one million depend, directly and indirectly, on tobacco production» , indicated the note signed by the President of the Chamber of tobacco industry, Matias O’Farrell, of Massalin Particulares; and by its vice-president, Jorge Cabrera of British American Tobacco.Both pointed out that «tobacco activity is a driver of the economy at the regional level and a social dynamizer in all those provinces where tobacco is produced». They said that «on average 50% of the income of these kiosks comes from the sale of cigarettes,» and warned that «if these measures continue, many of them will no doubt be forced to close their businesses.»