CNBC Insight Reasons Why Poor People Choose to Buy Cigarettes Instead of Rice Entrepreneur – 21 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – One of the interesting facts is about the purchase of cigarettes by poor people. They, who struggle to earn money for daily living, prefer to buy cigarettes rather than nutritious food.

This fact was then reinforced by the findings of the Central Statistics Agency. In the BPS report as of March 2023, cigarettes are one of the largest contributors to the poverty line, both in urban and rural areas.


So, what are the real reasons behind the decision to buy cigarettes by poor people?

Please note, actually problems like this do not only occur in Indonesia, but also in other parts of the world. One of them is the United States (US).

In 2008 the Gallup Poll consulting company conducted a survey of 75,000 smokers in the US. The results show that people who earn less than US$ 24,000 a year smoke more cigarettes than people who earn more than US$ 90,000 a year.

Regarding this problem, Stanford University Professor, Keith Humphreys, wrote to Washington Post several causes.

According to him, the problem is the environment. Rich people who smoke have a greater chance of getting environmental support to quit smoking. If they intend to turn away from tobacco, then they can join a healthy network of friends.

Meanwhile, this does not happen in the lower class groups. They find it difficult to find an environment that supports them apart from smoking. As a result, they continue to smoke and become addicted.

Furthermore, Keith also linked this problem to depression. Smoking makes the human body feel the effects of dopamine, making it happier, calmer and happier. This is then exploited by lower class people to gain excess happiness. So they will continue to smoke to escape depression.

“They may also face challenges in accessing treatment for co-occurring mental health problems (e.g., depression) that make quitting smoking more difficult,” he said.

This does not happen in the upper class group. If they are depressed, cigarettes are just an alternative reliever. Because, they have the resources to get access to mental health treatment which is not cheap.

Not only is it caused by human behavior, this habit is also caused by cigarette companies which are sometimes unscrupulous. This was revealed by Megan Sandel and Renée Boynton-Jarrett in their opinion piece on CNN International.

They do not deny that environmental and economic factors are the cause of the increase in cigarette consumption among poor people. However, this factor should not forget the influence of the cigarette companies themselves.

Cigarette factories target low-income neighborhoods by distributing more cigarette fish. The industry also specifically targets cigarettes at young people in low socio-economic environments.

Not only that, this problem can also be seen from a psychological perspective, as explained by Morgan Housel The Psychology of Money (2020).

Housel took the example of lottery purchases by poor or low-income people. In Housel’s findings, it was found that they allocated 4 times more spending to buy lotteries than high-income people.

This can happen, according to Housel, because they cannot afford the things rich people have. They cannot access luxury homes, nice cars, vacation at the beach, or just visit shopping centers. As a result, the only way to get the luxury that can be done is to buy the lottery.

This lottery case can be compared to the case of buying cigarettes. If we refer to similar cases, the reason why poor people buy cigarettes from a psychological perspective is because that is the only way to get luxury.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

(mfa/sef)