I read today that a pack of cigarettes in NYC costs $14.50.

A pack. Not a carton, a single pack. Cost is supposed to help reduce the number of people smoking or convince kids not start, so apparently NYC keeps increasing the “sin taxes”. More power to ’em if that works.

Cost never convinced anyone in my family to stop smoking. They would bitch and moan, but no one stopped. I am officially the only person in my extended family to have stopped smoking voluntarily rather than by dying.

I started smoking when I was 13 and cigarettes were 40 cents a pack. It seems impossible now, but I swear everyone smoked.

We just finished watching the movies Super 8 which is set in 1978 or 1979 and the one thing they got wrong was the smoking. It’s a movie designed to appeal to kids so they toned it down to a few people smoking here and there. But really everyone smoked all the time. In cars, at dinner, while holding babies. That was not in the movie.

The price of ciagrettes mattered when I was a kid because somebody was always sending me to the corner store to buy them and I could usually wheedle some of the change. When cigarettes were .$.33 a pack – which seems like they were for much of the 1970’s – tips were common. When the price went up to two packs for $.80 tips were harder to come by. Or maybe I was older and it wasn’t as cute to send me to the store.

Yes they sold cigarettes to children. The beverage store also sold you beer if your mom or dad called to say you were coming to get it for them. I have a distinct memory of me and my friend Bobby wheeling a case of Miller long necks home in a wagon one summer day.

Sometime when I was in high school the price went up to $.49 And everyone said they were quitting when they couldn’t get two packs for a dollar. No one did.

I quit smoking 18 years ago after smoking for 17 years. Supposedly my lungs are now back to base zero, like I never smoked at all. I dont think that calculation took into account the 13 years of second hand smoke but it sounds good.

My daughter will probably never smoke because we have told her pointedly that smoking killed 5 people in her family. Six if you count my paternal grandmother.

Smoking kills at any price.