Poverty With a Cigarette?


As mentioned in a recent news story, there are approximately 46.2 million people in America living in poverty. That’s sad. I’ve been there. I remember as a child searching for coins on the ground to give to my mother, so that she could buy food. I’m sure the coins didn’t help much, but I wanted to do my part. We had to use food stamps for a while and often visited a local church for bags of food.

So, I’ve been there and I know how hard times can be. BUT…

I read this news story last night that riled me up. You can read it if you have time, but the gist of it was to point out the current poverty rate and how it is effecting whites, blacks, etc. The article as a whole was very informational and provided a good view of how bad the economy is right now.

However, the state of the economy is not what riled me up. It was this…

“Smoking a cigarette in front of the produce stand, Adams later expresses a wish that employers will look past her conviction a few years ago for distributing prescription painkillers, so she can get a job and have money to “buy the kids everything they need.”   “It’s pretty hard,” she said. “Once the bills are paid, we might have $10 to our name.”

Your kids are starving, but you have cigarettes?

THAT riled me up. What’s sad is that I see this every day. Kids are walking around with holes in their shoes, ripped up, stained clothes while their parent is smoking a cigarette. Let me first say – This is not about smoking. I used to be a smoker (quit in 2004). Smoking is not the point of this post. Do what you want to do. This is about taking care of your children.

Back to the point – The woman above stated that she only has $10 left after her bills are paid. Now, let’s look at how much the average pack of cigarettes cost. CNN posted a story in April of this year that stated, “The average price of a pack of cigarettes nationwide is $6”. As an ex-smoker, I typically went through about 5 packs a week. That would be $30 a week, or $120 a month. No wonder the lady only has $10 left after her bills are paid, considering that this is one of her ‘bills’. Now, if your children are well taken care of and you can still afford to buy a pack of smokes, then go for it. Again, this is not about smoking.

The point is that this woman may very well be living in poverty, but she is the one who is keeping herself there. What’s worse is that her children have to pay for her lack of judgement. It doesn’t stop with cigarettes. I could include all types of things that seem to take priority in a person’s life over their children. Drugs, alcohol, partying and just downright laziness, just to name a few.

I’m frequently in a bad area of town where I see terrible living conditions. Children who are not even of school age yet are running around outside alone, with no adult in sight. A couple years ago, a toddler was walking down the sidewalk of a busy residential road completely by herself. That’s heartbreaking. Come to find out, many of the parents of these children are drugged up and laying around their house doing nothing, but wasted our government’s money. All the while, their children are out doing who knows what and they don’t seem to care.

True poverty is one thing. But, if a person is sitting around all day, watching tv and waiting for their next check to come in the mail, that’s not poverty. That’s a choice.

Food stamps and financial assistance is a great help to those who are truly struggling. I’m all for it, especially when children are involved. But, in the meantime look for work. When we were going through our hard time, I don’t recall one day where my parents weren’t out looking for a job. They were determined to get out of the financial hole that they were in. They didn’t sit around thinking that they were entitled to every penny that the government had to give them. They merely used it as a temporary resource. Keyword here is “temporary”.

People don’t have to stay in poverty. There are plenty of jobs out there. Even if the job is working in the fast food industry or being a janitor. Like I heard someone say, we need people to work in those fields. Those types of jobs are just as important as any other. Don’t be so proud that your kids have to suffer for it.

Your life is how you make it. It’s all about choice.

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5 Responses to Poverty With a Cigarette?

  1. Read this last night but was a bit intoxicated. Nice writing! 🙂 Thanks for sending the link! -OM


  2. It is a sad affair and it happens all over the world, it breaks my heart to see children neglected. Each child deserves to be cared for in a loving caring environment thanks for this post sad but needs to be said.


    • mewhoami says:

      You’re right. No child should grow up being neglected or feeling unwanted. Having no money should not reflect on the care and love a parent gives to their child. Also, there’s always a way out of the pit. It may take time and will definitely take work, but it’s there.


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