Friday, June 21, 2013

Here is my short admonishment against smoking. I put it in simple dollar terms. How many hours do you have to work to earn the money for those cigs? I do the calculation for you HERE

Data from CDC HERE

An estimated 44 million Americans smoke. Of that 44 million an estimated 30%, or 13.2 million live at or below the poverty line.

The price of cigarettes varies significantly around the US.  A low of $4.84 in West Virginia to a high of $12.50 in  New York.  Prices include a significant tax.  The median price is about $7.00.

If a person smokes 3 packs a week at the median price of that is $21.00 per week spent on cigarettes.  At a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (MINUS payroll taxes of 7.65% that would be $6.73 per hour) it takes just a little MORE than 3 hours to earn the money to buy cigarettes PER WEEK.  3 HOURS!

There are 4.3 weeks in an average month.  A 3 pack a week smoker working at minimum wage will work 13 hours a month in order to spend $90 on a cigarette habit.

Opportunity Cost.  What ELSE could a minimum wage worker spend their money on instead of cigarettes? Yes, I know, it could be on worse things. But it could be on better things as well.

Notice I am not taking the nanny state approach and telling you what you should or should not do.

I am doing what economists do: Putting a cost to an action then letting people decide.

However, on  personal note, students: DON"T SMOKE!! It is harmful to you and to society (what good could you do with that $90 extra PER MONTH!!).  I watched my father die a terrible death as a result of a lifetime of smoking.

Thanks!
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