Smokers brace for price hike

Treasury-sanctioned NIS 2 price hike on cigarettes means smokers will pay more.

smoker (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Jerusalem smokers grudgingly prepared to dig deeper into their pockets Tuesday, one day ahead of a Treasury-sanctioned NIS 2 price hike on cigarettes.
“It’s always a bad thing for smokers. If you’re a nonsmoker or a haredi, [the money] goes straight to you. It’s a political issue. Everybody should do what he wants with his money,” said a cab driver.
“I don’t smoke,” said Maayan Rosen, who was waiting for a bus. “I think it’s good, so people won’t buy cigarettes.”
Leaning against the wall next to where the buses were lined up, local Gilad Kohen was casually smoking his cigarette.
“It sucks, what I can say? Maybe the smokers will be [fewer]. I don’t know if it will make a difference,” he said.
At a nearby kiosk, cigarette prices were already starting to rise.
“It’s not good. It started at NIS 18, now I pay NIS 20 in one day,” said a customer as he started to unwrap a fresh pack he had just taken off the counter. “It’s my habit. I need cigarettes.”
More smokers stood along the busy Jaffa Road, puffing away.
“Now I need to stop smoking,” said a security guard, pausing to inhale his cigarette. “Now it’s going to cost NIS 20. They’re stealing my money.”
Moshe Ohana, who heads the shuttle service on Jaffa Road near the central bus station, said he would continue buying cigarettes. However, one of the men who works with him said he was done with smoking, and now he could breathe.
Shai Oman, who works at a kiosk called Punch, said, “People won’t stop buying cigarettes.”
A smoker himself, Oman said he would continue to purchase the tobacco products.
“Everybody will keep smoking. NIS 2 is nothing,” he declared.