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Your Take: Poor Smokers Spend 25% Of Income on Cigarettes

Posted By Jim On 09/28/2012 @ 7:15 am In Your Take | 40 Comments

Here’s a remarkable statistic – low-income smokers in NY spend 25% of their income [3] on cigarettes. Those earning less than $30,000 a year account for 39% of the state and city taxes on cigarettes. Those with incomes over $60,000 spend about 2% of their salary on cigarettes. The article itself was meant to discuss the regressive nature of consumption taxes like the ones on cigarettes, where a pack can cost around $12. $12 is nearly twice the national minimum wage [4] after you account for taxes and FICA.

Next to the impact it has on the body, the absolute ridiculous prices you have to pay to buy cigarettes should be reason enough not to smoke. It’s terrible for you but I get why people smoke, it’s something to do and it’s relaxing. Some people don’t like the weight gain when they stop smoking. But to pay $12 a pack? That adds up quickly. Granted, my reaction probably has to do with how I’ve never smoked, and I do enjoy an occasional beer (not to the tune of $12-$24 a day… I don’t think!) so maybe it’s similar.

That’s not what I’m curious about… what’s your biggest expenditure outside of your housing and groceries? For us, it’s easily going to be dining out. I don’t put eating at restaurants in the same category as eating at home, since it’s often more expensive and more of a luxury. We like to go out to dinner, especially to our favorite spots, because we can eat inexpensively, have no dishes, and just relax and have a good time. If we don’t go out, we can just as easily order takeout and enjoy it at home.

What’s your biggest expenditure each month?


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[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/poor-smokers-spend-25-income-cigarettes.html

[3] spend 25% of their income: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/nyregion/poor-smokers-in-new-york-state-spend-25-of-income-on-cigarettes-study-says.html?_r=0

[4] national minimum wage: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-much-is-minimum-wage.html

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