Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Kelly Makiha: Ciggies now a costly luxury

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There's nothing worse than a reformed smoker banging on about the dangers of cigarettes.

So I'm not going to.

In fact, part of me feels for those who are now having to fork out more for their ciggies as a result of the Government's latest tax hike on tobacco.

Kelly Makiha.
Kelly Makiha.

While I'm loving not being a smoker anymore, there are plenty of rules in place now which mean smokers don't have to bother me.

I don't have to sit next to someone smoking at a restaurant or even put up with second-hand smoke at most parks and reserves.

The only law missing now is one that bans smoking in cars with children inside.

Talk to a smoker and most of them want to quit. They don't want to be stinky, poor or risk death. But still, the lure of dragging on a cigarette after a meal or while enjoying a drop of your favourite tipple is too great.

I gave up more than 10 years ago and, for me, it was purely a financial decision.

Three years prior my 53-year-old father, who smoked like a train, died suddenly from a stroke. My mum hinted the only good thing that could come out of it was making me realise smoking could kill me.

It didn't. I smoked more.

At the time my packet of Pall Mall menthols cost $10. Admittedly, I had become a heavy smoker, regularly burning through eight packets a week. That was $80.

Nowadays, thanks to last Friday's latest price rises, the same packet of 20s cost $22.10. If I hadn't quit, I'd be paying $176.80 weekly. Yikes.

My decision to stop came after an overseas trip. I'd enjoyed smoking the cheap duty-free cigarettes and forced my husband and friends to bring back duty-free cartons with us back into New Zealand. I was set for a few months.

But, as the last packet in the last carton came around, I knew finding $80 a week again was going to be hard work. It was then time to give up.

I went cold turkey and I'm so glad I've managed to stay smokefree.

If you're a smoker and are wanting to quit, good luck. You won't regret it.

But if you're content to spend your money on something that makes you happy, go for it.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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