Sunday, October 13, 2013

Special pleading

The truly egregious Philadelphia Inquirer suggests people smoke because they are hungry:
Many people smoke after they've eaten. Lindell Harvey smokes because he hasn't.
"You smoke out of anxiety because you don't have the food you need," said Harvey, 54, who lives alone in Crum Lynne, Delaware County. He receives disability checks from the Navy that keep him $2,000 below the poverty line.
Harvey relies on his Newports to see him through his hard days. "In my mind, the smoking becomes a comfort as I try to create ways to get food."
In lives where people endure a dearth of nearly everything important - food, jobs, medical care, a safe place to live - the poor suffer an abundance of one thing:
Nicotine.
This is deplorable in so many ways: 1) He get $2,000 less than the poverty rate. This is poorly worded, but I think it means his income is below the federally defined poverty rate for one individual, so that he is eligible for SNAP, the federal food stamp program. 2) a pack of cigarettes costs $5-6, an amount which will buy you a meal at McDonalds or Burger King, a meal laden with calories but cheap, tasty, and filling. 3)No-one is forcing this man to smoke, he has free will just like the rest of us. Let's just skirt the issue of why a 54-year-old man is on disability, I will concede that his disability is valid, although everyone I know who is in their fifties has at least one job. .

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