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The Cost of Cigarettes is Killing Me

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Here's a fantastic statistic for you. At Sainsburys, you can buy five custard donuts for sixty pence. Five donuts. Five. For sixty pence. That's a grand total of 12 pence per donut. Just one of these five donuts contains 234 calories, which, as a woman, is more than a tenth of my daily calorie allowance. Also at Sainsburys, a packet of the same cigarettes that I started smoking at 16 (when they cost £4.90 a packet) costs £7.04. Divide £7.04 by 20 and you get... Yep, 35 pence for one ultra light cigarette. Or, to put it into context - three donuts for one ultra light cigarette. And if we're trading our cigarettes for donuts, then for my packet of cigarettes, some morbidly obsese Biggest Loser candidate could buy 11.7 packets of donuts. Serious. I used a calculator and everything.

I'm not an idiot. I have extremely honourable ideas about giving up smoking before I'm 30. Obviously, I know I'm not harbouring the healthiest habit in the world, and yes, it's probably killing me. So have a little compassion for a dying woman, please. All smokers know that they trade a slice of life for a couple of minutes' pleasure. We don't need to have constant mockery thrown into the bargain. Because that's what a £7.04 20 pack is. A massive piss take. The cost equivalent of lighting someone's cigarette provided they pull their pants down and bend over.

Add the standard vilification of smokers worldwide into the bargain and it's a wonder I ever leave the house. Sometimes people look at me as if something really unsavoury has happened to me, like a bit of poo is smeared on my forehead, or half my nose has gone to join Daniella Westbrook's in an unmarked grave. And really, it's nothing like that, not terrible a hygiene anomaly that encourages me to defecate and then rub it on my face, nor a cocaine addiction; it's my grown up choice, like choosing to have children, or choosing to wear a poncho. Not everyone likes children and ponchos, you know, but do you see me glaring in disgust at your screaming toddler/inability to move your arms? No. It's your choice.

That being said, I don't see you being openly laughed at for making your choices. I don't see you being charged for wearing your poncho, and until the fashion police start fining fashion criminals, I don't think I will. And you parents? Nobody comes up to you on the street and says "Hey, have you paid for that baby?", do they? No, I heard you get given money for having children, so don't look at me as if I'm poisoning your air. If you're having trouble breathing it's probably because there's a great big silver spoon in your mouth, paid for by the inordinate amount of tax that I've thrown at the government in my seven years of fairly happy smoking.

Although I can accept that some people have children and others wear ponchos, and would never wish the level of discrimination that I, a smoker, daily receive upon those people, I must admit there is one type of person that I cannot abide. A person whose addiction goes untaxed for reasons unknown. That person is the person who regularly buys the aforementioned five Sainsbury's donuts for 60 pence. Dr Chantal Simon notes that 'obesity is set to take over smoking as the number one preventable cause of disease in the UK.' Now, I'm not expecting tobacco taxes to be lifted. At the moment, smokers more than pay for the medical treatment they will inevitably need. But I'll be damned if I'm going to pay 82% tax per packet just so that someone who doesn't know when enough whipped cream is enough whipped cream can spend their final artery clogged days in an NHS bed. No way.

I am calling for the fabled fat tax to be slapped on donuts, oven fries, chicken dippers, pizza, Iceland in general, that sort of thing. That's not me being horrible; it's me being realistic. As stated in the Guardian, "the tax would earn the Treasury £38bn a year, enough to cover much of the interest on the national debt or pay for one-third of the NHS." Hello? Keep taxing smokers and pretty soon we'll all piss off to Egypt where, yes, there is serious political unrest, but a packet of fags costs a healthy £5. And that's not English pounds; it's Egyptian. Quick currency conversion? A packet of local cigarettes in Egypt will set you back fifty English pence. It's time to tax someone new, and I vote the overeaters. I know that when you think 'smoker', you think Cruella Deville; you think 'fat person', you get Roseanne Barr, but come on; not all smokers are puppy killers and not all fat people are funny. If every fat person was like James Corden, I could understand why the fat tax might be shelved; there would have to be some kind of correlation, right? Well, wrong. The truth is, Rik Waller exists, which brings me to the conclusion that fat people must pay.

At the end of the day, if we're doing something silly that's going to put us in hospital, whether it's smoking or eating rubbish or paragliding, we deserve to pay hospital rent. For the paragliders, that's insurance. For the smokers, that's tax. For the fat ingesters, at present, that's nothing. So why not try charging 82% tax on a five pack of donuts and watch as our smokers are finally vindicated, our fatties are finally thinned and our once great economy finally flourishes? On that note, I think I need to calm down. Anyone got a light?

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