The cost of smoking

January 17th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Would you rather smoke your way to an early grave, or knock $350,000 off your mortgage?

One of the most regularly trotted-out reasons for quitting is that it’s expensive. Well, duh.

But cigarettes are about to get a whole lot dearer, and many nicotine junkies may not fully grasp what an enormous sum of money is going up in smoke. …

This month, the excise tax went up another 10 per cent, and that’s not the end of it.

There are another two 10 per cent hikes planned, which means that in 2016, a pack of 20 cigarettes will cost at least $20.

So how much is the lifetime cost of smoking?

We’ll use an interest rate of 5 per cent for our scenario, which is a reasonable after tax-return for a diversified portfolio of shares.

For simplicity we’ll run the numbers for a diehard, pack-a-day smoker. $20 a day is $140 a week, $600 a month and $7200 a year.

Now we introduce the magic of compounding interest. It starts off slowly. In the first year, compounding monthly, you would have earned an extra $200 on top of the up-front cash savings.

By the 10th year, you’d be earning a staggering $4400 worth of extra income each and every year simply by giving ciggies the flick.

After 20 years, you’d have a tidy quarter of a million bucks saved, almost half of which would be investment returns. …

With our adjusted interest rate, you’d save a whopping $350,000 on your mortgage by channelling all your cigarette money into paying it off.

A huge saving. Another way of looking at it, is that you could use that $350,000 to do $8,500 overseas holidays twice a year.

Take the example of Southland woman, Liz, who’s beating the tax hikes by growing her own.

Friends and family members have also successfully grown their own baccy – which is reportedly not too bad, especially when mixed with a pouch of commercial stuff.

This is an issue, in that if you price a product too high, then the hardcore will turn to the black market or grow their own.

Most smokers are from lower income families. Stopping smoking is a great way to increase your disposable income. Easier said than done, but worth doing.

Tags:

73 Responses to “The cost of smoking”

  1. Monty (980 comments) says:

    Smoking keeps poor people poor.

    Poor people make poor life decisions. Smoking is one of those crap decisions.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. smttc (763 comments) says:

    Smoking is for dumbies.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. dime (10,109 comments) says:

    Another 10%? disgraceful!

    I hope the black market becomes HUGE

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. RightNow (6,995 comments) says:

    Another way of looking at it, is that you could use that $350,000 to do $8,500 overseas holidays twice a year.

    Only if you start taking the holidays long after you stop smoking, otherwise you must factor the same compounding interest you used in the stop smoking calculation.

    IIRC from when I smoked, each adult is allowed to grow 14 tobacco plants for their personal use. The fly in the ointment is that it takes a long long time to dry/cure before you can smoke it. I’ve tried some homegrown tobacco and it’s pretty rough.

    In the end I switched to electronic cigarettes (which I still ‘smoke’). Way cheaper (like 95% cheaper – I import my own nicotine liquid), no morning cough, no smoke smell on my clothes and breath, and I can ‘smoke’ inside at pubs (that’s the gravy). All the research I read said although it may still be harmful it’s got to be better than smoking just by not inhaling carbon monoxide. And I have noticed a significant difference in my breathing and ability to exercise.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. kowtow (8,771 comments) says:

    Put another way all those thick poor people that this paternalist piece of shite has been written about won’t have a mortgage in the first place……..

    they’re too poor to be in the housing market any way.

    Pointless, middle class, journalistic drivel.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    A school friend of my youngster pays $58 or something for a 50gm pouch. They are on a benefit. They can’t afford the $20 a year for their child to join the local sports club. DUMB.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Yes the nice middle class people who support National relish the thought of depriving the poor of their simple pleasures in life and so support the raising of tobacco excises to levels unseen in any other nation.

    It also helps the Government balance its books.

    Charming people nanny staters are

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Manolo (14,065 comments) says:

    Journalistic drivel, indeed. Nanny state lives on.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Of course those of us who are awake understand that this attack on tobacco is actually an attack on capitalism and free enterprise.

    And that having pioneered the techniques of destroying an industry with tobacco these same techniques will be extended to other enterprises

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    Stopping smoking is a great way to increase your disposable income.

    Stopping these annual tax hikes on tobacco would be a great way of increasing their disposable income, too ;-)

    Vote National for more tax on unapproved substances.

    They’ll come for your wine (or my coffee) one day…

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Smoking keeps poor people poor.

    Only because the price of cigarettes in New Zealand is ridiculous. By all means tax them to cover the cost to the health system of smoking (which is exaggerated, since a heart attack is about the cheapest way to die, and lung cancer is more or less untreatable), but that should be the limit.

    If people want to smoke, it should be their business. Everyone knows the health risks, but it’s your own life and as long as you don’t smoke around non-consenting parties, you should be left alone to enjoy it. There’s nothing funnier than fitness freaks who engage in dangerous sports like high altitude mountain climbing lecturing others on the risks of smoking.

    What’s happened is that the middle class wowsers and puritans in our society have found another outlet. Back in the day they used to spend all their time banging on about homosexuals and people who had sex outside of wedlock, but that’s no longer allowed, so they needed some other victimless physical activity to pick on, so smokers, drinkers and fat people are now the targets.

    The funny thing is that if you enjoyed spraying whipped cream on someone’s arse and licking it off as part of a daily gay sex ritual, these people would defend to the death your right to do so, but they think that it is morally wrong to lick whipped cream off your daily dessert.

    Nothing ever changes. These people are the descendants of the intolerant wankers who formed the temperance movement, and like that movement, they need to learn to mind their own business.

    Ignorance, stupidity and authoritarianism cause New Zealand more social and economic harm than smoking, but you don’t see ads on TV telling people to read or making fun of them for being dumb (and the average New Zealander is tremendously stupid).

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    An interesting comment on smoking, ‘just saying':

    When I was at the annual gathering of the whanau I was struck by the fact that the majority of us smoke. At one stage about twelve of us were sitting outside in the rain smoking (vaping in my case) and we were joking that given how many of us were on benefits a TV crew with the hapless Paddy Gower should be arriving at any moment.

    It’s no coincidence either that all of us at that table were living the precariat dream – either not in paid work ( or not enough to make ends meet), or in imminent danger of becoming so. Three had lost their paid work in the last six months and were desperately seeking a job.

    Everyone except me was talking about trying to quit because the price hikes had made lives a misery, but despite multiple attempts, cutting down etc. most are doing without other (often essential) things, borrowing money etc. Because being stressed and demoralised makes a smoker want a cigarette. Badly.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-14012014/#comment-757078

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Smoking is not the health concern it once was. Now the major preventable cause of illness is poor diet. The stage has been set and the principle established by the anti smoking lobby. Now its time to apply those principles to other public health issues…

    There should be massive punitive taxes applied to foods not approved by the state authorities. A packet of Ginger Nuts should retail for about $20.00.

    Fatties should be openly scorned and ostricised. They should objects of ridicule and derision. Millions and millions of dollars should be poured into advertising showing how disgusting fat people are. Laws should be passed excluding them from eating their poor diet around others. Think of the children !!!

    We should set a goal of eliminating people of non-government approved BMI by 2018.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Everyone except me was talking about trying to quit because the price hikes had made lives a misery, but despite multiple attempts, cutting down etc. most are doing without other (often essential) things, borrowing money etc. Because being stressed and demoralised makes a smoker want a cigarette. Badly.

    Yes. We wonder why people with stressful lives abuse substances.

    The easiest way to quit smoking is to do it at the same time as some other big life change (e.g. getting a new job, moving house). That way you are less likely to be in a place where you usually smoked.

    But some people just don’t want to quit, like my old doctor (who died at a ripe old age of a non smoking related cause).

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    I lol’d Kea.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Manolo (14,065 comments) says:

    We should set a goal of eliminating people of non-government approved BMI by 2018.

    Add infidels to the sentence and you’d be true to form, Kea. Just saying. :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    The easiest way to quit smoking is to do it at the same time as some other big life change (e.g. getting a new job, moving house). That way you are less likely to be in a place where you usually smoked.

    LOL :)

    Tom, even the thought of combining a big life change, and stopping nicotine, makes me want to light up ! Well intentioned bullshit.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Sugar’s next lads and ladies.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. tvb (4,512 comments) says:

    Fatties do not affect other people except perhaps as passengers on planes etc. Anyhow I am all for making cigarettes as expensive as possible with $20 just being the START. One could eliminate the tax free duty free allowance from 200 cigarettes to say 20. People on welfare cannot really afford to smoke and their children suffer because family money is being diverted to pay for them. The same goes for drinking. You can lead a perfectly happy life without smoking and drinking and welfare people should be encouraged to do that. I do though I am not on welfare.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Tom, even the thought of combining a big life change, and stopping nicotine, makes me want to light up ! Well intentioned bullshit.

    Got to be a good change.

    Worked for me. I moved countries and just stopped cold. I can even have the odd cigarette socially (I think I’ve had a grand total of four cigarettes in the last five years) without starting again. YMMV

    Unlike most people who’ve stopped smoking, I don’t feel the need to lecture those who still do on their lack of moral fibre.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. tvb (4,512 comments) says:

    PS yes sugar is next and a damn good thing too.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    The problem with smoking is, like many other aspects of social living, there is a level of society that simply cannot regulate their behaviour, regardless of the damage it does.

    For decades now regulations have moderated behaviour – and there are those who are unintelligent enough to believe that unless the government stops it, then doing it is just dandy.

    I mean, did we really need to be regulated to stop hitting our children with an iron bar, or putting them in the clothes dryer? The vast majority of people know what force is too much when it comes to disciplining children – but in order to force the point on the few that don’t, we regulated.

    When it comes to smoking – the same is happening. Most people accept its not a particularly healthy habit, and weigh up the issues doing their own cost/benefit analysis, and moderate or stop their smoking – but then there are those that simply don’t get it –

    The more we use regulation to tell people how to behave, the more they will need it to behave correctly. The dumbing down of society is almost complete – all we need now is legislation that makes it compulsory to wipe our butts properly.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    The ones who make the most money from smoking are the government.

    With less smokers there will be less tax dollars coming in. Combine this with people lingering on the pension for another few years, drawing upon massive amounts of health care, and you can see this piece of social engineering is going to cost the country big time.

    Smokers do not cost the country money, they provide income and save us a fortune. Sadly most of us will expire after a prolonged period of declining health, regardless of our lifestyle choices. Those who make bad choices will expire sooner and may not even tap into the pension fund.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Sugar’s next lads and ladies.

    Such BS.

    Does anyone remember what people ate in the 1970s? I can’t quite remember what it was, but it was generally smothered in lard, cream or sugar.

    The cause of societal weight gain seems to be that more people work in sedentary jobs and fewer people walk places. People also spend more time at work. Another cause of health problems is that people are simply living longer than they used to.

    Attacking food options seems misguided to me.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Rowan (2,527 comments) says:

    To me the way to stop smoking is to stop drinking, I feel I am in control of both, I have the odd social drink and smoke but am not addicted to or dependent on either. They go hand in hand for me.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Smokers do not cost the country money, they provide income and save us a fortune.

    They also contribute to the level of calmness and even temper of society. Is it an accident that our society is becoming more temperamental and impatient as smoking declines? I think not.

    The problem with smoking is, like many other aspects of social living, there is a level of society that simply cannot regulate their behaviour, regardless of the damage it does.

    You mean bankers?

    Seriously, a lot of people don’t want to. Nobody lives forever. Not everyone sees the point of prolonging one’s life as long as possible if the cost of doing so is to become an anal-retentive, middle class boor.

    Dost thou think, because thou art
    virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    The vast majority of people know what force is too much when it comes to disciplining children – but in order to force the point on the few that don’t, we regulated.

    Actually in that case the point was always to ban smacking – all the talk about the law allowing excessive force was just a smokescreen for a campaign that had been bubbling away for about 20 years at least.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Tom Jackson (1,972 comments) says:
    January 17th, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Lard and cream are a hell of a lot better for you than white sugar. Not just from a weight gain point of view either. HOWEVER, I think most people acknowledge that an excess of anything – even water can cause health problems.

    Everything in moderation, an old fashion concept that can keep you healthy. Sure regulate and tax sugar to get the message to the dumb – but they will just replace with something else if they have no ability to self-regulate.

    As I constantly say – forget the current generations of adults – too late to help them – but teach the kids what it takes to live a healthy self-sufficient life, (because many parents simply aren’t providing that lesson) and at least ensure the future is better.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Fatties do not affect other people except perhaps as passengers on planes etc.

    tvb, Yes they do. They cost the country a fortune. Money that could have been spent on helping people of government approved weight.

    You seem to really have it in for the poor. When you put the price of booze and ciggies up all you are doing is taking money out of the household budget. That is the reality. I understand they should not waste their little bit of money on smokes and booze, but I am addressing what actually happens, not ideology.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    The problem with smoking is, like many other aspects of social living, there is a level of society that simply cannot regulate their behaviour, regardless of the damage it does.

    The more we use regulation to tell people how to behave, the more they will need it to behave correctly.

    Well isn’t it lucky there are people like you around Judith, who know what correct behaviour is and how to enforce it in others! ;-)

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Rachel (2 comments) says:

    Using a future value and comparing it to what you could spend it on today is highly disingenuous. The present value of a $20 a day habit over 20 years with an interest rate of 5% is $92,286. Still substantial but far less sensational.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    They also contribute to the level of calmness and even temper of society.

    Tom, I find smokers and drinkers tend to be more social and tolerant people. While those who have no vices are very self absorbed and intolerant of difference.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. dime (10,109 comments) says:

    “Does anyone remember what people ate in the 1970s? I can’t quite remember what it was, but it was generally smothered in lard, cream or sugar.”

    what about the 50s?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ RRM (8,520 comments) says:
    January 17th, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    I think the vast majority of people know what behaviour is harmful and what isn’t. But as generations move forward, and there are young people witnessing bad behaviour, they are less likely to have the same standards as adults. A child that lives in a violent house, is more likely to think of violence as ‘normal’.

    I think we currently see evidence of the generational cause of bad behaviour and its ability to get more severe from generation to generation – and of course, historically the opposite is also achievable when enough people decide to improve standards.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Odakyu-sen (750 comments) says:

    $NZ20 and up? (Wow.) Last time I looked in Yokohama, a packet of the popular Lark brand cigarettes was 410 yen ($NZ4.71).

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Odakyu-sen (750 comments) says:

    “Yes they do. They cost the country a fortune. Money that could have been spent on helping people of government approved weight.”

    The police issue speeding tickets to people they catch driving too fast, so why not roll out the scales and issue over-the-approved-weight tickets for fatties. After all, they are hurting their own lives, and burdening the medical system with their preventable ailments.

    Logical, don’t you think?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. muggins (3,810 comments) says:

    Having never smoked I have difficulty understanding why anyone would want to start smoking .
    What is the trigger? No-one in my family smokes. My father-in-law smoked, but only a couple a day. He never had any smoking related illnesses. But why start in the first place?
    I walk a circuit every day and a few weeks ago I noticed a whole pile of cigarette butts on the shellrock path. Most unsightly. It appeared that someone must have emptied the ashtray of their car. Fortunately the grass alongside the path is mowed regularly and after about a month all the butts had disappeared.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    If smoking is eliminated, how will the government fill the hole left in their tax collection ? Tobacco taxes bring in far more than the cost attributed to smoking and that’s without factoring in the savings in superannuation. Can we say higher income taxes….why yes, we can.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Lard and cream are a hell of a lot better for you than white sugar. Not just from a weight gain point of view either.

    People consumed more sugar back then too (especially in Britain). Hell, the only sugar free sodas you could buy back then tasted awful. Now the sugar free ones taste better (to me anyway) than the regular ones.

    There’s always going to be a “demon food of the week” in the media because they have nothing better to write about, and many people have nothing better to think about. I’ve lost track of how many times coffee has been declared bad then good or good then bad. I know friends who’ve sworn off it not because of any real evidence, but because it’s the latest craze among their social circle of liberal, middle class academics (part of the general weird attitudes towards food that have developed in the last couple of decades). It’s silly and such people deserve to be mocked.

    It’s just a shame that the same sort of people run the media and feel the need to hector the rest of us about their latest pieties.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Having never smoked I have difficulty understanding why anyone would want to start smoking .

    Because it is a very pleasant and calming activity. It’s just a major tragedy that it happens to be somewhat bad for you (even then, if you do smoke, you’ll probably die of something else).

    But it’s a class thing. Smoking is bad because the wrong people do it whereas high altitude mountain climbing and solo ocean going yacht racing are good because the right people do them, even though the latter are more likely to drastically shorten your life than the former (in terms of lifespan forgone).

    Similarly professional boxing is a dangerous sport that should be banned because the wrong people like even though it’s statistically safer than many other sports (cheerleading and downhill skiing being quite dangerous).

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    That’s right Tom Jackson, our political masters are just using middle class wowserism to advance their own power and personal agendas

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Sugar IS a killer…and we do eat more of it today..and in the last 50 years than at any other time in history. Saturated fat by contrast is not harmful at all…indeed its natures preferred source of energy and nutrition for humans….its what we carry around our middles as a backup store.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    $NZ20 and up? (Wow.) Last time I looked in Yokohama, a packet of the popular Lark brand cigarettes was 410 yen ($NZ4.71).

    Odakyu-sen, yes and the Japanese are the longest lived people in the world. All while smoking like trains.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. muggins (3,810 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson.
    You say smoking is a very pleasant and calming activity. But that doesn’t explain whay you started smoking in the first place.
    I mean you didn’t know it was going to be a pleasant and calming activity.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Odakyu-sen (750 comments) says:

    “Odakyu-sen, yes and the Japanese are the longest lived people in the world. All while smoking like trains.”

    It’s all the walking they do (to and from the railways stations) plus the healthy diet (excuse the high salt and low fiber content) that keeps them slim.

    If they didn’t smoke so much, they’d live even longer.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Odakyu-sen, Is it common to see people in Japan so fat that they can not even walk properly and move along with their feet splayed outwards because they are so disgustingly fat there legs can not move normally, as is the case in NZ ?

    Or not ?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. kowtow (8,771 comments) says:

    It’s all that whale meat that keeps ‘em going……

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Look, the background to this whole panic about health and food is the insecurity of the middle classes.

    Everyone knows that the primary way that people fortify themselves into social classes is culture. After all, being well off doesn’t necessarily make you middle class. What makes those in the middle class middle class is liking things that working class people don’t like and disliking things that they do. These are cultural signifiers of class membership.

    But the eternal problem for the middle class has been preventing working class people from accessing these goods. Until fairly recently, one of the main marks of middle classness was taste in the arts, film, books and music. To acquire middle class tastes in these usually required tertiary education or spending money on expensive books, living in the right place, knowing the right people, etc.

    The internet has destroyed all that. It is impossible for any class to prevent any other class from accessing informational goods – the internet has democratised culture. So the middle class has had to focus on other cultural signifiers that cannot be replicated by information technology, but which keep the oiks out. One of the things they have chosen is food. This works, because good food is expensive and this keeps out those who cannot afford it. Being able to cook well also requires quite a bit of free time, which the middle classes tend to have more of than the working classes. So food is a perfect middle class cultural signifier for our times and that’s why foodies tend to be twats.

    So we’ve developed this ridiculous snobbery around food to the degree where people carry around chef’s knives in their bags and TV is full of silly cooking shows and media pundits hectoring the poor about their diet. None of this has anything to do with health. It’s all about class politics and social positioning.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Odakyu-sen (750 comments) says:

    Kea, it’s rare to see the degree of obesity so often seen in Auckland.

    Being fat has more of a anti-social stigma in Japan. The bullies in many children’s cartoons tend to be fat. (Forget about sumo and judo for a moment.)

    The proportion of women who are stay-and-home mums is higher, and they probably regulate their children’s food intake to a greater level than stay-and-home mums do in NZ (Do we even have any stay-and-home mums left?)

    It’s probably a cultural thing. Japanese culture has traditionally emphasized hard work, frugality and diligence (take a page out the Protestant work ethic). (The “bubble economy” excesses of the 1980s were not in keeping with this.)

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. Odakyu-sen (750 comments) says:

    ” So food is a perfect middle class cultural signifier for our times and that’s why foodies tend to be twats.”

    My God! You’ve just twatified the entire nation of Japan! (Rather a good shot, though, I have to admit…)

    Get a load of this (all in English): http://kyotofoodie.com/

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Rowan (2,527 comments) says:

    Used to be a non smoker and the idea was repulsive, no one in my family smoked, took it up about 4 years ago as everyone I was working with smoked and was to hard to not join in, never really got hooked now I just have the odd social one when drinking. Yes it does nothing for me and is bad for my health but it is controlled amount so not to worried about it.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Oh god that’s awful.

    Why can’t people just enjoy eating without making a song and dance about it?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson, that was a very interesting and well observed comment.

    The most important thing to the middle class is fitting in. They are not guided by a well considered individual morality. They simply observe what is the norm and replicate it. Fitting in and keeping up appearances is the deciding factor. They measure their self worth against where they fit in relation to their chosen peers. This can result in either good, or appalling, deeds depending on what the norm is at the time.

    They are societies sheeple.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    The most important thing to the middle class is fitting in. They are not guided by a well considered individual morality. They simply observe what is the norm and replicate it.

    I know. I often find it easier to deal with really rich people or working folk, since they tend to like what they like because they like it and not for social reasons.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Kea, it’s rare to see the degree of obesity so often seen in Auckland.

    Odakyu-sen, ahhh the Japanese. So polite ! ;)

    We are a nation of dreary fat slobs. The lumbering she-beasts we call women are particularly dreadful. It is unusual to see a Kiwi girl who is not over weight by 30 years old. They also smoke at a higher rate than the men.

    As for our food culture, it is appalling. Compared with any Asian country. What we eat, how we eat, where we eat, the style we eat… there is virtually nothing worth salvaging from it. Some European countries have the right idea, as do all Asian ones. And none of those countries have streets full of big fatties wheezing and wobbling their sweaty way around town.

    If we are serious about this public health/self esteem disaster, then we need to make some cultural changes around food, not look to government regulation.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson, where I live you simply must ride a mountain bike to be middle class. Smoking is not allowed and judging by the groups I see, nor are coloured folk ;)

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Odakyu-sen (750 comments) says:

    Kea, I agree. Getting back on topic to the cost of smoking…I believe that people have to make their own choices (and bear the consequences of their actions). Sure, those who “know better” want to “save people from themselves,” but in the end, are you really helping them?

    Make people responsible for their actions, so that the Invisible Hand can bitch-slap some sense into them.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Odakyu-sen, one way to bring about a cultural change is to stop making excuses for fat people and stop telling lies about why people get fat. The Japanese are not slim because of some genetic advantage. If they eat the same diet as Western people they get just as fat with attendant poor health. Nor does the Japanese government impose laws to keep people slim.

    The difference is that it is not tolerated socially and culturally by the people. Here we tell clearly fat people that they are slim and do all we can to make them feel good about eating themselves to death.

    Once we stop accepting obesity then the free market will change and provide us with affordable accessible food of a better quality. Instead of the bland low quality garbage we eat now.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. Fisiani (1,047 comments) says:

    There is a brilliant self help book for people who want to get off smoking and stay off smoking that came out 11 months ago.
    It is called Quit : Say Goodbye to Smoking

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Odakyu-sen (750 comments) says:

    “Here we tell clearly fat people that they are slim and do all we can to make them feel good about eating themselves to death.”

    I couldn’t do that. Maybe I have too low a tolerance to cognitive dissonance…

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. OTGO (562 comments) says:

    Great article from Richard Prebble esp the part about the tobacco tax that maori pay which funds the treaty claims.

    http://breakingviewsnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/richard-prebble-politically-incorrect.html

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. tvb (4,512 comments) says:

    I don’t worry about the treaty money. It all comes back sooner or later.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Fentex (1,038 comments) says:

    They’ll come for your wine (or my coffee) one day…

    Not one day, they are coming for my wine now – constantly and continuously demonising and restricting it.
    Where I live it is now illegal to sit in front of my property and drink with my neighbours.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. Steve (North Shore) (4,589 comments) says:

    All very well to quit because of the ever increasing price BUT, what is the Govt going to do for money when the TAX collected becomes zero? They will come for your food (fat tax) they will come for your booze, and if the devil dodgers have their way they will come for your soul. Imagine that – a Tax unless you go to your g*d.
    Fucking Socialist control bullshit.
    I smoked for 44 years and stopped because I needed spinal surgery (nicotine is not the best for healing bones and nerves)
    I do not miss smoking, and I do not mind if others around me smoke, the smell of cigarettes does not make me crave for one.
    Soon you will not be able to burp or fart without a TAX to control your actions.

    End of rant

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Tauhei Notts (1,747 comments) says:

    A mate who smokes summed it all up.
    He said that “with each increase in tobacco excise duty I MUST increase the amount I cheat on my income tax and GST to get square.”
    Smoking is the new religion. If you smoke you will die.
    The corollary to that asinine statement is that if you don’t smoke you will live forever.
    Religious nutters have been preaching everlasting life for the past two millenia.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. nasska (11,804 comments) says:

    ….”Religious nutters have been preaching everlasting life for the past two millenia.”….

    If the Godnutters catch up with you Tauhei, you’ll spend eternity in a lake of burning excrement.

    Blasphemy will not be tolerated. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    During a sustained period of major depression last year I started smoking, it felt like a personal moral failure in one sense (because we all know smokers are from the pit of hell, the gummint said so) but it also helped me take five, and actually talk to my wife and begin to gain some clarity, I also didn’t give a shit because I felt like shit anyway.

    I actually understand why some people smoke now, it is hard to replace the “time out” aspect of it, coffee can come close, but it’s not quite the same.

    We all know that smoking is not good for you long term, but neither is driving off a cliff top.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    “rolls smoke”

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. Debbi Jekyll (2 comments) says:

    “I believe that people have to make their own choices (and bear the consequences of their actions)”.

    I definitely agree with this, we all have the freedom to do what we wanna do and also suffer the consequences of our actions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. Scott (1,818 comments) says:

    Although I have never smoked and never will smoke, like many others here I am opposed to excessive taxation and government intervention. Apparently the government has a goal of eliminating smoking by 2015 or 2025,something like that. Who gave them a mandate to do so? We have far too much government intervention and far too much taxation. The government should do less and tax less and people need to be responsible for their own actions.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. Rufus (677 comments) says:

    barstewards! A decent cigar was expensive enough as it is. Hurray for internet shopping.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. ExtremeRightisright (23 comments) says:

    Smoking. Ewww!!! What vile horrid creatures would inflict such destruction upon themselves. Sub-human. And they have the cheek to expect taxpayers to foot the bill of their self inflicted wounds. Damn them.
    Make it illegal ASAP. And alcohol too, that abomination and destroyer of societies. It is utterly intolerable how any society could tolerate such malevolent substances within it. The black market will be no problem. They will be ruthlessly crushed. One strike system; possession, supply, manufacture will result in swift lethal justice. All nicotene, alcohol etc junkies will be cowed into submission. ZERO TOLERANCE. It must be eradicated.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. ExtremeRightisright (23 comments) says:

    @ Debbi Jekyll

    Okay, based on that logic, lets legalise all drugs then if we have the right to do what we please with our bodies and make our own choices. Or do you adhere to double standards.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote