It’s pretty common knowledge that smoking cigarettes leads to a premature death with a transitory cushion of cancer – maybe pretty wasn’t the best word choice. And yet, according to the American Heart Association 23.5 percent of American men smoke and 18.1 percent of the women. At a glance, the statistics may seem a bit high but for anyone that has hung around a college campus recently, the smoke clouds don’t lie.
Despite the high number of smokers, people have been fighting the commonality of cigarettes for a long time: smoking bans in public places, more and more anti-smoking commercials and advertisements have been popping up, as well as an increase in tobacco-related taxes. Massachusetts just passed another tobacco tax that increased the over all price of tobacco products about a dollar, making the average price of a pack of main brand cigarettes (i.e. Camels or Marlboros) about $8.
The Boston Globe, in a recent article, cites a survey that points out that, “every 10 percent increase in cigarette prices yields a 4 percent decline in sales”. The survey doesn’t mention the other important fact that the 96% of sales that remain experience a 10% increase.
The article does bring up an important aspect of taxing tobacco: “It is crucial that any increase in tax receipts be used for tobacco-related health services, said Siegel, who is not involved in the campaign. Otherwise, if states use the money to build roads or fix bridges, it puts them in the uncomfortable position of depending on increases in tobacco tax revenue driven by use.”
So that basically means that for all the smokers that are willing to ignore the financial hole that these taxes are burning into their pockets, the extra money their dishing out isn’t even going towards something fun like less potholes on the streets, or new water fountains – instead, they’re just getting an increase in anti-smoking campaigns which they are obviously keen on ignoring since they are willing to invest so much in either cancer or looking as cool as people like the philosopher Albert Camus or the singer Janis Joplin (both died before the cancer could get them- one, a car crash, one, on vomit).
Here are some tips for those who don’t want to quit smoking, but financially have no choice:
- Tell your friends to stop letting you bum cigarettes – even if you don’t, they are just going to get annoyed eventually, so you might as well just nip it in the butt.
- Try to get into a new routine – take a different route to school or work if the normal route is just going to bring back memories of lighting up in transit.
- Limit your coffee and alcohol intake – everyone knows that coffee and cigarettes is a match made in heaven… so get over it.
- Do something active – it’s all too easy to feel invincible, “cancer won’t get me and if it does, I’ll be too old to care”. Don’t focus on the far off fate, instead, think about how crappy you feel after you ran ten yards to catch the bus and how gross it was wheezing the whole ride. Running is a nifty skill to have, so use it.