A relationship among lower incomes, cigarette smoking, the lotto & fast food

Chapter 25

A relationship among lower incomes, cigarette smoking, the lotto & fast food

This issue really bugs me, but I doubt there is much that can be done. The folks that can least afford it are the ones that pay the highest price both in terms of prices and in poor nutrition.

Let’s look at some of the facts: Source: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0260.pdf


“Tobacco is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing 480,000 Americans every year. Another 16 million Americans suffer from a smoking-caused disease, disability, or other serious health problem. Thanks to the tobacco industry’s targeted marketing efforts, lower-income and less educated populations are particularly burdened by tobacco use: low-income people smoke more, suffer more, spend more, and die more from tobacco use. The tobacco industry has gone to great lengths to target lower income and racial and ethnic groups. Through market research and aggressive promotions, the industry has successfully penetrated these communities; and the industry’s “investment” in these communities has had a destructive impact.

Tobacco Use Among Lower-Income Populations

Smoking is directly correlated with income level and years of education. Since the release of the first Surgeon General’s Report on smoking in 1964, smoking has become ever more concentrated among populations with lower incomes and fewer years of education. In the past, the highest income Americans smoked at levels even greater than the poorest; now they smoke at almost half the rate of those with the lowest income.

  • 29.2 percent of adults who are below the poverty level smoke, compared to 16.2 percent of adults who are at or above the poverty level.
  • Among adults under age 65, 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees and 30 percent of uninsured

individuals smoke, compared to 15 percent with private insurance coverage.”

The Lotto

Why play a losing game? Study uncovers why low-income people buy lottery tickets

Posted By News On July 24, 2008 – 2:30pm

“Although state lotteries, on average, return just 53 cents for every dollar spent on a ticket, people continue to pour money into them — especially low-income people, who spend a larger percentage of their incomes on lottery tickets than do the wealthier segments of society. A new Carnegie Mellon University study sheds light on the reasons why low-income lottery players eagerly invest in a product that provides poor returns.

In the study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, participants who were made to feel subjectively poor bought nearly twice as many lottery tickets as a comparison group that was made to feel subjectively more affluent. The Carnegie Mellon findings point to poverty’s central role in people’s decisions to buy lottery tickets.

“Some poor people see playing the lottery as their best opportunity for improving their financial situations, albeit wrongly so,” said the study’s lead author Emily Haisley, a doctoral student in the Department of Organizational Behavior and Theory at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. “The hope of getting out of poverty encourages people to continue to buy tickets, even though their chances of stumbling upon a life-changing windfall are nearly impossibly slim and buying lottery tickets in fact exacerbates the very poverty that purchasers are hoping to escape.” Source: Carnegie Mellon University

Fast Food

The correlation between low income and patronizing fast food restaurants is not as apparent in this category, but it is still an issue. Low income families think they are saving money by eating out at a fast food store. The facts are that, even if a family of four all order off the $1 menu (burger, fries & a drink) the cost will be $3.30 per person with tax or over $13 as compared to a crock pot meal at home at about 1/3 the cost!                                                                         Not surprisingly the top nine (9) restaurant chains are all fast food operators (Vol in Millions):Source: http://nrn.com/us-top-100/top-100-chains-us-sales

1 McDonald’s Sandwich $34,172.0 $32,395.4 $31,032.6
2 Subway Sandwich $11,434.0 $10,633.0 $9,999.3
3 Starbucks Coffee Beverage-Snack $8,490.0 $7,955.0 $7,415.0
4 Burger King Sandwich $8,131.0 $8,433.0 $8,799.0
5 Wendy’s Sandwich $8,108.0 $7,943.0 $8,023.0
6 Taco Bell Sandwich $7,000.0 $6,900.0 $6,800.0
7 Dunkin’ Donuts Beverage-Snack $5,931.0 $5,420.0 $5,176.0
8 Pizza Hut Pizza $5,500.0 $5,400.0 $5,000.0
$4,600.0 $4,700.0 $4,900.0