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The Ruinous Cost of Smoking Print E-mail
(5 votes, average 4.80 out of 5)
Health - Well Being
Written by Ahmed Amr   
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 02:55
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Don’t worry. I’m not even qualified to give you an analysis on the potentially fatal side effects of smoking, not to mention the social stigma. All I want to do is work out some numbers to demonstrate the ruinous cost of smoking. Before I run the numbers, I want to make a confession - I’m a smoker and I’m desperately trying to quit. I recognize I am an addict and no amount of preaching is going to stop that. It’s been almost forty years since I took my first drag and I still can’t manage to get through the day without lighting up.

But lately, I’ve become very concerned with the amount of money I spend on my addiction. I’ve paid as much as eight dollars for a pack and I keep telling myself that there is no way in hell I’ll ever pay ten dollars. Of course, I made that vow when cigarettes where creeping up to three bucks and I repeated that vow with utmost sincerity when it hit the five dollar mark.

When I started smoking, a pack of cigarettes was around 40 cents - which was 25% of the prevailing minimum wage. I remember driving to Florida and picking up cartons of cigarettes for two bucks. Until the early eighties, smoking was a bad habit but it was a cheap bad habit. Now the minimum wage will barely score you a single pack. That means that all things considered, the increase in the price of cigarettes has exceeded inflation by a factor of a few hundred percentage points. Of course, it all depends on which state you smoke in. A pack that costs eight dollars in New York can be had for five dollars in Delaware. But still, it's far more expensive than it used to be.

We can argue till we’re blue in the face about the punitive federal and state taxes that are levied against smokers - but where will that get you and what are you going to do about it - stop smoking to protest excessive taxation or toss a carton of cigarettes in the Boston Harbor?

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