Went back to the grocery store this evening to exchange a light bulb that was the wrong size, but they did not have the right size so I got my money back. But in so doing I was in the customer service line. The young man ahead of me was buying a pack of cigarettes, just as the older man ahead of him had done. I had not noticed this before, but apparently these days you can only buy cigarettes and tobacco products at that counter.
I don’t know how much cigarettes cost these days, many, many dollars per pack, and don’t even think about a whole carton — far more than the 25 cents to 30 cents per pack they cost when I was a teenager, which was relatively cheap even then.
Had a hard time getting a simple answer on the web, but apparently cigarettes these days cost as much or more than $50 per carton (10 packs), and in New York state because of new higher taxes they are upwards of $15 per pack.
It’s hard for me to believe that in this day and age people actually still buy and smoke cigarettes. Ever since the 60s , or even 50s, at least, we have known that they lead to lung cancer and we know that they cause other lung disease, usually in the form of what these days is referred to as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a form of which can be Emphysema.
But people get hooked on them and then they go into denial, saying things like, “I know an old woman who has been smoking ever since she was a teenager and she’s a hundred years old, or, “if I quit something else will get me” (yeah, so go out and run in front of a train, something else is going to get you anyway).
Just as bad is what one of my late brother in-laws used to tell me: “heck I could quit anytime.” That begs the question, why didn’t he? Well he finally did after a doctor told him it was either that or imminent death. But he died a slow and painful and agonizing death from the effects of COPD. His death was not only hard on him, but those who loved him — most notably a son who was close to him and my wife. They both took care of him. But even then he was in denial, saying or implying that it was not really or not just the cigarettes that gave him lung disease. He had worked with all kinds of toxic chemicals in the construction business back before they had safety breathing equipment that was at all effective. And he may have been correct that other things damaged his lungs, but certainly the cigarettes played a, or the major role and probably hastened his demise.
If these smokers do not care about themselves or their loved ones, do they realize that it is society that almost always ends up paying a major portion of the medical bills due to their smoking-related or caused diseases?
And what about the smokers who litter the countryside with cigarette butts and emptied ashtrays that they just dump on the ground or pavement or what about the ones who carelessly throw burning cigarettes out their car windows and start raging wild land fires that kill people and wildlife and destroy property and burn forests and pollute the environment? And they are so indignant when they are told they cannot smoke in a public place.
They think it is their right even though it has been found by researchers that second-hand smoke non-smokers, often children of smokers, are forced to breathe is deadly. But of course they are in denial about this too.
It almost seems to me that anyone who now smokes should not be able to get health insurance, even private insurance, because protecting them makes everyone’s premiums cost more. And they should have to sign a waiver saying they will not be eligible for public health care of any kind related to their smoking.
For that older man buying those cigarettes it‘s probably too late.
Sadly, for the younger guy, it‘s also probably too late.
Some people never really do get the message.
I even find it hard to believe that among people who are heavily addicted to cigarettes, that the realization of that slow and agonizing death and/or a shorter life span, added to the tremendous monetary cost of the habit is not enough to make them quit. But if those factors are not, then someone needs to talk them into reconsidering their smoking lifestyle, then we could all breathe easier.
I was young and foolish once myself. I tried to get the habit, but it just wouldn’t take.
P.s. P.s. P.s.
And I know, once you start telling people they cannot do dangerous things to their bodies such as smoking, others will say then what is to stop the government from telling them not to drink alcohol (the U.S. has been there and done that back in Prohibition days).
But there really is a difference. There is just nothing safe or redeeming about smoking and the cost to society is too high.