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A Broke-Ass Guide to Cost-Efficiently Giving Yourself Lung Cancer

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Tobacco-1756-1024x768Thanks to our cigarette-smoking president, cigarette smoking has gotten a lot pricier in the last few years. Although I suspect the prez is being kinda paternal (“don’t do what I did, America”) in projecting his nicotine-guilt upon us, it is helping people quit. But SOME of us (me) just don’t want to.

My justification for having a problem with the tax is its regressive structure: the poorer you are, the most likely you are to smoke. Comrade Obama, indeed.

ARGUABLY, the tax is financially helpful to the poorer and sexier among us, because you ultimately save a lot more money if you quit, and being temporarily impoverished by the tax is better than being permanently impoverished by cigarettes. And then, y’know, dying.

At least that’s what I wrote before the muscle-memory kicked in and I unconsciously whipped out…it’s already lit? Jesus.

So here’s the secret (the secret, you say?) to breaking your body without going broke: buy pipe tobacco. I don’t mean like, actual pipe tobacco. That’s expensive. For you. I mean, go to a head/smoke shop and ask if they have big sacks of ‘pipe tobacco,’ while trying to keep the inverted commas out of your voice.

Don’t do the inverted comma-voice because this whole situation seems kinda semi-legal. The pound- or half-pound sacks are clearly labeled “Pipe Tobacco,” but were clearly not meant to be put in a pipe. The stuff is cut like pipe tobacco, the individual bits being longer and thicker than regular rolling tobacco, but it’s dried past the point of it ever being useful in an actual pipe.

Which makes it perfect for rolling! But wait…waitwait…here’s WHY you should buy pipe tobacco instead of quitting cigarettes: it almost completely dodges the tobacco tax. I am currently a proud owner of a full pound of tobacco, which cost only 20 bucks and has lasted me three weeks. And I smoke like a motherfucker.

The stuff is a little harsher than rolling tobacco, but this is only really noticeable when you do a taste test and smoke one after the other (not recommended). Additionally, the sack is large and plush enough to double as a pillow for your broke ass.

The only (non-health) issue I’ve had with lugging a sack of tobac around is the increased bumming. Someone who might have second thoughts about asking a complete stranger for something while offering absolutely nothing in return just doesn’t have these thoughts when the stranger is visibly in possession of thousands of units of what they want. This gets annoying, so I try to clandestinely roll cigarettes in alleys or while crouched behind trees. THAT way, I can just claim that my rollie was “from home.” Since the sack kinda looks like a Costo-sized bag of beef jerky, you could also just claim it was your lunch for the next week. The bummer may state that it is clearly NOT jerky, but instead a giant load of their addiction of choice, but you just need to smile serenely and say, “it may LOOK like tobacco, but I know the truth.”

Cause what are they gonna say to that?

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Roger Hannigan Gilson

Roger Hannigan Gilson

Roger figures his first memory dates from when he was about three, His mother had brought him along to one of her friends' houses. In the kitchen, Roger saw something that struck him as odd: his mother's friend opening the refrigerator to reveal water in a plastic gallon-jug!

"Why is there WATER in a MILK bottle?" little Roger inquired.

Oh, how the mothers laughed!

He recently moved to Oakland.

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