Cancer sticks over fiscal responsibility

Stressed, broke smokers struggle with habit


As household budgets shrink, some smokers are forced to choose: Pay the bills? Or buy cigarettes?

“We had a light bill that needed to be paid, so we paid a third of it so we could have cigarette money,” said Leonard Perry, a pack-a-day Doral smoker from Elkhart, Ind. “We’ve done that a couple times. It kind of works out but it makes it rough for the next week.”

Perry, 55, worked at American Hauler, a cargo trailer manufacturer, before being laid off two years ago. Sometimes he collects scrap metal for cigarette money. "My woman’s workin’, so that helps me out there," he said. But his wife has her own pack-a-day Marlboro habit to support.


The national average price for a pack of cigarettes is about $6, and the average state cigarette tax is $1.27 per pack. But some local governments also have their own cigarette tax, including Chicago, New York City and Anchorage, Alaska. For smokers in both New York City and Chicago, a pack of cigarettes costs close to $10.

Comment: Addictive behavior is irrational behavior.


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  2. I wish it were only cigarettes....reality is that I've seen a lot of people who have never touched "baccy" who are doing the same thing to have their cars, Mountain Dew, house, whatever. Yikes!


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