Saturday, 10 October 2009 20:17

Tobacco Economics

Written by Mick Hellwig
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Great Depression, Great Recession of 2009, Great big messWith the struggles our governmental and personal economies are currently facing, people are looking for the best value for their dollar, or other currency for my outside the US readers. I’d like to take a few minutes to consider our favorite vice, tobacco. It really doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, no one can deny that the US economy is in shambles. Will it recover? Probably. It always has in the past. How long the recovery takes and what life will be like during it can be debated until the cows come home, or longer.

I have heard stories from the Great Depression era of people (generally from mining towns) that would buy leaf chewing tobacco, chew it, set it up on a window sill to dry, and then shred it for smoking in their pipes.  I have been trying to find a written source of this story but so far no luck. I hope none of us get that low in our finances, but with taxes and slumping incomes…who knows?

Snus and snuff for me fit my idea of good economics. I have been asked a bunch of times if I’m saving money by switching from smoking to Swedish snus.

I was a two pack a day smoker. Here in Ohio a pack of Marlboro cigarettes run about $6 each, so that's $12 a day for cigarettes. I now use around 12 portions of snus a day, which costs me about $2 a day. Lös / Loose snus is even cheaper since it contains almost twice as much snus per can as does portion snus.   So that boils down to $84 a week for cigarettes versus $14 a week for snus;  I’ll even round the latter number up to $16 to include my nasal snuff usage, per week. I’ll let you guys do the math for percentages, but to me $68 dollars a week is a bunch of cash.

That money has really helped. I lost my job in February of 2009. I found a part time job in mid May. I will see easily a 50% decrease of income this year. Every dime I can save is one that I don’t have to worry about earning. Instead of telling my children they have to skip supper 3 nights a week so daddy can have smokes, I can happily enjoy a portion of Phantom Blue while cooking supper for them. Even better, no whining about ashes in the soup or butts in the salad.

The point of all this is that snus and nasal snuff are as much better for our wallets as they are better for our health.  Are snus and snuff completely safe?  No. Neither is breathing the exhaust fume filled air in most of our cities. Neither is drinking 2 pots of coffee a day, or eating 2 fast food hamburgers every day. Life itself is not safe, no one gets out alive. The best we can do is enjoy life to the best of our abilities.

Not only does a nice prilla or portion of Ettan taste loads better than a cigarette, it’s cheaper, much less harmful,  and is bio degradable. That’s an economic lesson I can understand:  Tobacco Economics.


Mick Hellwig

Snus Central Founding MemberMick Hellwig of

Read 1951 times Last modified on Saturday, 09 November 2013 03:08

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