|March 18th, 2009 by Robert | Word Count: 893 | Reading Time 3:29||9,041 views|
Over the years, I’ve facetiously threatened my wife that I was intent on becoming a fully fledged smoker. Of course I don’t really mean it… I’m just venting my frustration about smoking in general and how a personal habit affects the many people around their “everything revolves around their single planet universe.” I understand addictions, habits, and mind control… I even understand when it’s just a want or a self serving need… What I don’t understand is why people choose to smoke even though it is exactly like burning money. You think buying fireworks is bad, what do you think about smoking cigarettes?
Recently some stores have increased the costs of cigarettes due to a governmental increase of the cigarette tax. It actually starts on April 1st but some are already passing along the new taxes to smoking consumers. How much of an increase? Try a 155% increase on for size… It effectively makes a pack of cigarettes cost $1 more and a carton $10 more. The taxes are a way to increase the revenue of the various government entities in an effort to offset the losses in tax revenue received through the gas taxes. No, gas taxes did not lower, the amount of miles being driven has, thus less gas being bought and taxed.
Back to my threat… My primary reason for even saying such a thing revolves around the various “days off” associated with smoking and the ensuing breaks to feed this harmful addiction. Let’s just say a smoker takes an extended break each morning and afternoon… we’ll just throw 15 total extra minutes a day into the equation. 15 extra minutes devoted to smoke breaks that your normal non-smoker doesn’t utilize. Bathroom breaks and all that other stuff are effectively cancelled out in this simple equation. The bottom line is the smoker takes an extra 15 minutes a day off in this example. 15 minutes per day comes out to 75 minutes per week, 5 hours per month, and 60 hours per year… all devoted to smoking… while at work.
Let’s say we all get 2 weeks of vacation (80 hours) each year. We have just almost doubled it by simply smoking each day. And, we get paid to do it. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, it does with all things being equal. But, smoking isn’t exactly an equal thing… we all know how harmful they are and over time, can dramatically affect the standard of life. Smokers are known to become more susceptible to various respiratory illnesses among other sicknesses caused by a damaged immune system. We can actually throw in a multitude of sick days taken by your average smoker per year that immediately decreases the hours worked even more. If we just throw in say 3 extra sick days per year as a direct result of smoking ailments, we are now up to an extra 2 weeks per year off.
You may not think that sounds like much, but multiply those numbers out over a 30 year career. That comes out to 2400 hours less work as compared to a non-smoker… 300 less work days… well over a year of actual work. That’s the smoker’s vacation.
But, at what cost does the smoker actually pay for this vacation? Various studies have tried to put a number to the amount of time you sacrifice of your life per cigarette you smoke. Searching the internet for a few minutes gave me an average of about 10 minutes of lost life per smoke. So, a smoker who smokes on average of 5 cigarettes each day is costing 50 minutes of their life. Just using the 5 day smoking workweek, this comes out to a little over 4 hours of lost life per week. Multiplied over that same 30 year period, we have now lost about 200 hours of our life each year because of smoking, or 6,000 total hours for a grand total of over 250 full 24 hour days of our life.
These are small estimates in my opinion. I believe I am underestimating the amounts of cigarettes smoked and the amount of time associated with doing so. But, given this simplistic example, a smoker has traded almost a year of the end of their life for almost a year and a half of extra vacation time over their 30 year work career.
I’m not quite sure the tradeoff is worth it given that the last remaining years of a smoker usually aren’t the most fabulous and of a healthy lifestyle. The tradeoff is probably closer to a 5 or 10 to 1 ratio. Smoke and yes, you get extra vacation time, but the last 5 to 10 years of your life is going to be very poor. Is the vacation time worth sacrificing your last years of life? Quality of life is important and it will be dramatically lower for a smoker in the waning stages of existence. I’ve seen this first hand. So while I threaten to become a smoker to generate more vacation time for myself, I am rational enough to know that is not the right, or sane, choice. Purposefully sacrificing my health for such nonsense is irrational… not to mention more expensive these days. Receive the vacation time, but you are costing yourself more money and pain in the end hands down.