Smoking is for poor people

It really is kind of amazing how much American society has bifurcated on smoking.  It is more than ever a class marker of being poorer and less educated.  As I hate smoking and being around it, I will confess to being glad that my particular social stratum has moved away most dramatically.  Here’s a chart from Wonkblog:


This explains why I can literally think of only a single friend/acquaintance who is an active smoker.

The CDC with some nice charts, too:

Current Use of Cigarettes, Cigars, and Smokeless Tobacco Among Adults Living Below Poverty Level Compared With Those Living At Or Above Poverty Level

Current Use of Cigarettes, Cigars, and Smokeless Tobacco Among Adults With Less Than High School Education Compared With Adults With College Degree



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

6 Responses to Smoking is for poor people

  1. Nicole K says:

    I would probably still be a smoker if it wasn’t for switching to e-vapor. I blame it on my narcolepsy. Especially when I wasn’t treated properly, a smoking could mean the difference between being asleep and being at least somewhat awake. I chain smoked while driving sustained distances. I might not be alive today without that crutch back then.

    Being able to use nicotine in a manner that is magnitudes less dangerous to my health is awesome. I still somewhat miss having a real cigarette, but I surely don’t miss the smell, the expense (not only the cost of buying cigarettes, but my health insurance was over $100 per month more expensive) or the increased risk of a very painful death and a much shorter lifespan.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Yep. Vapor strikes me as a great example of harm reduction. Obviously, should not be encouraged for non-tobacco users, but definitely should be encouraged as a switch for tobacco users.

  2. Mika says:

    Oh, I thought that cigars are luxury items and adults living below poverty level would smoke them much less than the rest? Maybe “cigars” includes more than just Cubans… …or Dominicans?

    • Steve Greene says:

      I notice a lot of people buying cigarillos in the grocery store, which are very cheap hybrids I assume count as cigars.

      • Nicole K. says:

        Also, a lot of very cheap cigars are mostly used as a marijuana delivery mechanism. I know lots of people who unwrap the cigar, discard the inside, and re-wrap it with their preferred substance. I don’t know anyone who actually smokes those cheap nasty cigars as they are intended.

      • Mika says:

        Oh, I didn’t know that. Amazing what one can learn from this blog 🙂

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