Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Smoking - Things to avoid to preserve your wealth

I have never smoked a single cigarette in my life ever. The purpose of this post is not to talk down to smokers like a parent lecturing his child on why smoking is bad for you. I am not qualified to do that. On an intellectual level, which smoker does not know smoking kills and is harmful to the family? I would like to list down the reasons why I avoid cigarettes the way I avoid the casino with a ten-foot pole.

- Smoking is particularly injurious to your pocket in Singapore.  

Like cars, Singapore is one of the most expensive place to buy cigarettes. Cigarette prices range between SGD8 to SGD15. I am not aware of other countries which sell cigarettes more expensive than Singapore. Smoking is a very expensive indulgence in Singapore.

- Easy target to be picked on by government to raise tax revenue

Smokers are the easiest target group to be picked on by the government to raise tax revenue. It is politically acceptable because most people are non-smokers and they are more than happy to see cigarette prices go up to discourage smokers from polluting the air. To appease the smoker, the government can offer the political viable reason that it is raising the levy for the good of the smokers themselves to stop them from harming themselves and their family.

All governments love to implement policies that can make money off the people while at the same time be seen as doing something good for the people.

Governments need not fear tax revenue from cigarettes will drop drastically due to price increases. In economist terms, cigarettes are price inelastic. This means that demand for cigarettes will hardly change despite price increases. Any product of an addictive nature enjoy the price-inelastic characteristic. A wonderful business will sell products with this kind of characteristic.

- More expensive insurance premium

Smokers have to pay more expensive premiums for their health insurance policies to compensate the insurer for the increased health risk they are undertaking. Smokers can lie to the insurer but they face the risk of being denied claims later. It is not worth the risk. Why risk buying an umbrella that cannot open when it starts raining?

- Increased risk of higher medical bill

Doctors can be highly damaging to your pocket. Unexpected medical problems is a commonly cited reason for middle-class families to slip into poverty. Smokers put themselves and their families (if they are breadwinners) at higher risk of slipping into poverty house.

In Singapore, the poor complains that it is better for them to die than to fall sick. While doctors can save you from a heart attack, their bills can send you another round of heart attack. Smoking brings you one step closer to the doctor. A cigarette a day ensures the doctor's pay (at the smoker's expense).

- Loss of health which impact earnings

Our greatest asset, as able-bodied people, is our ability to earning a living. A failing health will take this asset away. As advertised on every cigarette pack, smoking kills and harms your health. Otherwise, why would insurer charge the extra premium?

- Harmful to pregnant women and kids

Smoking is harmful to pregnant women and raises the chance of having babies with defects. Inhalation of smoke is also bad for the brain development of growing infants/kids. If you want to depend on your children to take care of you in old age, you have to ensure they grow up in a healthy environment.

- Non-smoking bosses do not like smokers

Smokers take breaks during work to smoke. Bosses frown upon the lost productivity from smokers although most keep quiet about it. Some smokers claim smoking helps them concentrate better and aids their memory. Don't say this to your non-smoking bosses. They will probably take this as some kind of bullshit. It is hard to quantify how career prospects are affected when appraised by a non-smoking boss.

- Smokers are not welcomed by non-smokers
Non-smokers do not like smokers who smoke in front of them. They are just being polite when they say ok to a smoker who asks if it is ok to smoke. My wife has made it clear to me that she would not marry me if I were a smoker. That would be a tremendous, unmeasurable loss personally.

Smoking, like the consumption of alcohol and other harmful addictive chemicals, is like spending hard-earned money to harm myself and my family. Therefore, it is not rational to smoke.


  1. Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigs? I buy high quality cigarettes from Duty Free Depot and I'm saving over 60% from cigarettes.