First of all, it is illegal to sell single cigarettes. Apparently that’s not enough of a deterrent for those entrepreneurial spirits who recognize an opportunity to make a buck. This is evident by the number of so-called ‘cigarette houses’ cropping up in the City of Milwaukee.
Secondly, selling single cigarettes for one dollar makes them more affordable for teens, increasing the likelihood of them becoming addicted to nicotine and tobacco products, and ultimately, becoming life-long smokers.
With so many health disparities already plaguing our community, we don’t need to make cigarettes more convenient by offering them up for one dollar. In a manner of speaking, the community is—once again— being victimized by predators that profit from poor people. Since a pack of cigarettes costs so much, individuals who are addicted to nicotine, are finding their way to these cigarette houses, just like drug addicts make their way to drug houses.
As a member of the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Poverty Network (WAATPN), I am saddened by the lengths that individuals go to just to get a nicotine fix. As well, I am appalled by those who profit from their addiction. Let’s work together to educate the public about the dangers of cigarettes and other tobacco products and, at the same time, call on City officials to shut down these ‘cigarette houses.’