Why is smoking so costly?

I am not a smoker, atleast not a public one. So you can be pretty sure that it’s not a biased view of a smoker who’s desperate to have a cheaper smoke in India. It was just that I was standing in balcony of my room sharing an occasional smoke with a friend that I realized why cigarettes are costlier than the bidees and why the cigarettes with better filters costlier than the cigarettes with bad filters. If you didn’t know, Indian government levies a tax on the cigarettes on the basis of the length of the cigarette. I just hope that it has to do something with the filter length.

But the point here is that if cigarette is harmful, then bidee is atleast as harmful, right? So why don’t we raise the price of a pack of bidees to Rs. 100 to discourage the consumers from using them. This can easily be achieved by levying a 1000% tax on bidees. And the cigarettes with better and longer filters can be subsidized to make them available to the ‘common man’. The revenues to the Manmohan government will go up like anything because it will take a while for people to shift their taste from bidees to cigarettes and vice versa . But, it will discourage them from consuming 2 packets a day. Want to laugh on the proposal? C’mon, if it’s possible with petrol and diesel, why not with bidee and cigarette?

I suggested this to my fat friend with almost yellow teeth and stinking mouth and guess what he said? Have fun, Arun!

And the old Dev Anand song played in the background.

Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya. Har fikr ko dhuyein mein udaata chala gaya…



10 thoughts on “Why is smoking so costly?”

  1. waise am an anti-smoking person… i personally feel cigarettes shud be made sooo costly tat only those who can afford to pay for its consequences shud be able to buy it! Well totally personal perspective… 🙂

  2. I wonder y do people smoke when they know the side effects of the habit…i do not understand why is it so addictive as well and it is so difficult for anyone to quit 🙂
    Keeping the philosphy asideand talking about the point you have put forward – a way to increase governement revenues..i would like to say that this will definately raise the revenues not only through tax they recieve but also from the healthcare smokers will require by smoking non filtered beedis…
    Also, its not the matter of amount that smokers spend while puffing a cigarette and it doesnt matter to them how much a cigarette costs. they will smoke in either case.

  3. Nice thought Arun… though i still feel that despite of such an effort, making ppl switch would be difficult.. its in human nature to maintain the status symbol which they have created by striving so hard and asking them to switch to a bidi would be like asking them to put a knife through all those efforts. The suggestions which you have given will definately cause a quantum of population to re-think there puffing options but for the majority it will just mean tat now they have to spend less on other things to save their cut for a smoke.

  4. Good Thoughts. Indian Govt can’t increase the price because they get good revenue out of the tobacco industry. If government was really concerned about health they would have banned tobacco or reduced the permited limit of production.This would have helped in forcing people to consume less or no ciggarates/biddies.

    1. Point to hai guru. But I’m talking about shifting the tax from less harmful to more harmful products. That’s it. And with 1000% tax, even if the demand decreases to 20%, still they’ll recover their cost. And then people standing in 7,Race Course and Hotel Sheraton will proudly smoke a bidee that’ll cost them more than a Marlboro. 🙂

  5. Actually i liked the analogy you brought here with that of diesel and petrol…..amazing !! and very true….i think this can be a good step towards anti smoking campaign but the point is whether smoking industry in itself is justified in this age of corporate social responsibility…. i think best would be to ban this product; in public at least….like in Chandigarh (INDIA)….the thing is people will drop it when they will know its harmful effects…so the starting point can be spreading of Awareness…..!!!!

    1. Thanks Rajit for posting your comment. But I don’t agree with the point that you made about spreading awareness. All the steps taken so far have been unsuccessful. I’ve had friends, including the one mentioned in the article who know that it’s harmful and they’ve seen those lung pictures and rotten mouth pictures made on the cigarette packets, but still they don’t wanna leave smoking. Here, in Singapore, it’s too costly – S$12 per pack of 20 and Singapore is a No-Smoking country. That means you can smoke only in the designated areas and NOWHERE else. Now that’s what we need to do if we really want people to quit smoking.

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