Smoke? At that price?
The state Department of Health and Social Services reports that smoking declined 20 percent in Alaska from 1996 to 2007.
Only an estimated 21.5 percent of Alaskan adults smoke. Good news. But I wonder: How do those 21.5 percent afford cigarettes at $6 a pack?
Between the price of gasoline and the price of cigarettes, an old American vision is fading: Young guy with a pack of Luckies rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve, slack wrist on the wheel of his '57 Chevy. Cruisin'. Today he'd find himself stuck at the curb, tank dry, rolling his own with Bugler and Topps papers, wondering if he could afford lighter fluid for his Zippo.
At a bus stop in Mountain View a few years ago, I watched a young man bum a smoke and pay a quarter for it. So I guess he didn't bum it.
As an ex-smoker (when I quit a pack cost $1.39), I could have told there are plenty of good reasons to quit, including the retail price.