The Poor People Smoke – February 2011
According to the UK Office of National Statistics, the population of the UK aged 16 or over is close to 49½ million people. And in 2009, for the third year running, 21 per cent of the adult population in Great Britain were cigarette smokers (adult in this context is classed as aged 16 and over).
On the basis that a packet of 20 cigarettes costs £5 to buy, and that each smoker smokes one packet a day (many people buy cigarettes on the black market and increasingly many roll their own, but also many will smoke more than one packet a day, so we’ll take 20 per day at £5 as a general estimate). On that basis the amount of money spent daily in the UK on cigarettes is (49½ million × 21% × 5) = £51,975,000 per day, paid out on cigarettes. This is well in excess of Britain’s gross contribution to the EU budget (ie before taking into account the money that comes back for things like farming subsidies). A vast amount.
Poor people smoke, or as the General Lifestyle Survey 2009 puts it: ‘Smoking is nearly twice as common among adults in routine and manual occupation groups as it is in managerial and professional groups. In households classified as routine and manual, 29 per cent of adults smoked cigarettes, compared to 15 per cent of adults in managerial and professional households.’
But we knew that anyway. You only have to look about you:
Young women outside the Primark shop in Manchester
Across from Manchester City Hall the office workers come out and stand there for a Micky Moke. These will constitute part of the 15 per cent managerial and professional. Though they for the most part don’t look very upright and professional, sucking on the ciggie.
In Market Street, Manchester. Not sure whether the singer’s job would be classed as professional or routine. The marching young man, not sure about him either.
Market Street, Manchester. The girl with the red hair lights a cigarette over her baby’s head.
The poor people smoking. In particular the smoking women. How unattractive and low in self-esteem they look. And stinky. How disadvantaged! If they gave up smoking, would that move them to being middle class?