Friday, 02 July 2010
'Tis the season for taxes and it came as no surprise that the tax on cigarettes went up. The average pack in New York City costs around $10.80. Compare it to a couple of years ago when the average was around $5. With clove cigarettes and flavored blunt papers outlawed, it doesn't seem probable that the war on the tobacco industry will stop any time soon. As cigarette prices escalate, will they lose their cool factor?
There are many reasons why smoking cigarettes has been considered “cool” behavior. Smoking is accessible (you can get it anywhere and don't have to wait until you are 21), you can multitask when you smoke (the same can't be said for drinking), and it gives off a very nonchalant air about the person doing it. The “I don't give a damn” image was certainly why I tried my first cigarette. But now with cigarette prices skyrocketing (and the omnipresence of quit smoking ads), this bad boy icon of insouciant behavior might just come crashing down.
When cigarettes were cheap, people bought packs with the same ease as they would buying beer or a pack of gum. But at $10.80, quite a bit more consideration is put into the purchase. The next time you go light up a cigarette, you might just end up asking yourself if you really NEED to smoke that cigarette or save it for a later time. The higher the cost of the product, the more the product becomes a luxury item. There are alternatives of course, like the electronic cigarette. It's healthier and cheaper but it's just not the same. It's not really smoking if your cigarette doesn't produce any smoke.
So will there be a new cool bad behavior to take the cigarette's impending vacancy? Is it possible to find another product that will become as prevalent in everyday life and culture as cigarettes have been for the last couple of centuries that doesn't involve illegalities? Yes, people will keep smoking. It's an addiction, after all. But the cigarette will lose the edge, especially its hold over teens and people in their early to mid-twenties. Whatever the cool new fad may be, I just hope it's not bro- icing or else Joe Camel might start crying in the fetal position.
Be honest, did you start smoking because you thought it looked cool? What do you think will be the new “cool” bad behavior?