Since the government raised tariffs on cigarettes and alcohol, it has become increasingly difficult to get my nicotine fix.
Even before the so-called sin tax on vices was raised, street prices, like my finances, had been unstable. Some sidewalk vendors were selling cigarettes at P4.00 a stick, citing a law that I knew had yet to take effect. The problem, they said, was that distributors were hoarding their supplies until prices rose.
With the law now in effect, half a pack of my brand costs about as much as a whole pack used to. I’ve tried to get by with other, cheaper brands but I’ve found that I either smoke more–I went through two packs in one day–or spend the night coughing because of the rough tobacco. In either case, I get no satisfaction from smoking. It sometimes feels like I am just going through the motions.
Having come into some money (emphasis on some, and not so much on money), I bought myself a pack of my brand. This was, I told myself, the moment I had been waiting for all week. I took a drag, expecting the dizzy high that always comes after being deprived of my brand for more than 12 hours. And then I got nothing.
Smoking does nothing for me anymore. Which is a good thing in the long run, but makes me short tempered in the short term. Well done, government of the Republic of the Philippines! Property damage and a few bruises are a small price to pay for making one of your citizens a little less prone to cancer and emphysema and all those other diseases on that poster at the train station.