Poor Chose Cigarettes Not Food

The researchers found that of low-income families, those containing a household head or spouse who smoked cigarettes were at about six per cent higher risk for being “food insecure” - not always able to put enough food on the table.

Such families purchase, on average, ten packs of cigarettes per week, spending around 33.70 U.S.-Dollars - enough to add two pounds of ground beef, two pounds of chicken breasts, 64 ounces of fresh orange juice and ten pounds of frozen vegetables to the weekly menu, at current supermarket prices.

The researchers analysed data from the 2001 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a long-term study of U.S. men, women, and children and families. They looked at the connection between smoking and the lack of consistent and dependable access to nutritious food, while controlling for other socioeconomic factors and behavioral health choices.

The choice between smoking and having more food might seem like a no-brainer, but this is not the case, said Terry Pechacek, associate director of science for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Smoking is an addiction that gets established in adolescence, before individuals fully understand the long-term implications of their behaviour”, he said. “Poor families suffer the long-term health impact.”

MEDICA.de; Source: Health Behavior News Service