This morning I summoned courage and walked to the nearby kiosk to confirm different remarks I had heard about the availability and affordability of cigarettes.
Me: Sonu customer
Seller: Sonu madam
Me: I wan buy cigarette
Seller (Chuckling strangely): Which one?
Me: Which ones you get?
Me: How much
Seller (About to remove a stick for me): Ten naira
Me: No I don’t really want to buy I just wan know the price
Seller: Okay I get Benson, N10, pack na N200. I also get London N10, pack na N200. All of them na same price.
Me: You get empty pack wey you fit dash me?
Seller (Stretches hand to give me an empty cigarette pack): I get. Take
I have been getting different reactions as a result of the posts on tobacco and one particular reader reached out to inform me that many people are lured into the habit of smoking as a result of the extremely low cost of cigarettes and they remain stuck to the deadly lifestyle partly due to same reason. It was shocking to discover a stick of cigarette (N10) was cheaper than the cheapest loaf of bread (N50) and smallest sachet of milk (N15). I’m not sure if there’s any other vice that beats this rate, not even excessive alcohol consumption or prostitution.
I wonder why cigarettes are so cheap when it contains among other substances these three deadly chemicals namely:
Carbon Monoxide – the same gas we get from car exhaust fumes
Tar – the same substance used in road construction (remember tarred road!)
Nicotine – a substance that when mixed with water immediately functions as an insecticide.
So, imagine car exhaust fumes, road tar and insecticide all together in one product being sold for N10 a stick (a stick that guarantees you will want more sticks).
In a country where many struggle to eat well and access to life’s basic amenities is still a challenge, products with proven harmful effects like cigarettes should not be so easily available and affordable.
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