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Coronavirus: smokers buying hundreds of cigarettes at a time

PUBLISHED: 13:42 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:01 17 March 2020

Norfolk hospitals treated more than 10,000 patients for smoking-related conditions in the past year Photo: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Norfolk hospitals treated more than 10,000 patients for smoking-related conditions in the past year Photo: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Smokers have been buying hundreds of cigarettes at a time as social distancing and self-isolation is expected to hit the region.

Cigs & Papers in Exchange Street, Norwich. Picture: GoogleCigs & Papers in Exchange Street, Norwich. Picture: Google

Cigs and Papers, in Exchange Street, Norwich, has seen customers mass buying tobacco and cigarettes with queues out of the door.

Jack Cross, 24, has worked in the store for the past eight years.

He said: “This morning it has been a bit mental but it has calmed down throughout the day. It seems everyone is buying 200 to 400 cigarettes at a time.”

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Since 2017, cigarettes have only been available in 20 packets. This means customers at the shop, which has been in Norwich for more than 40 years, are buying up to 20 packs at once.

Mr Cross added: “Although that is a lot it is not the legal limit.”

The mass buying comes as the public are urged not to buy more than what they need amid concerns over coronavirus-linked stockpiling.

Supermarkets have seen a surge in demand for essential items and long-lasting foodstuffs with shelves emptied of items like toilet rolls, pasta, tinned soup, baked beans and tinned tomatoes.

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