Apartment Living – The Edge of Poverty


One thing that living in an “affordable” apartment complex is that you live among people who are near the poverty line. No desperate poor, but people who are close. There are many signs, but one sure sign is the ubiquitous “Swisher Sweets” wrappers.

Not being a smoker, I wasn’t very aware of the small flavored cigarillos that are sold at convenience stores. Small, dark paper (like a cigar, not a cigarette) and often with wild flavors. Orange, Chocolate, Cherry, and others, they are popular with kids (those near 18) as they were inexpensive, and sold in singles or three at a time.

These wrappers are all over the apartment grounds
These wrappers are all over the apartment grounds

When the cost of a package of cigarettes approaching $9.00, the less taxed flavored cigarillos is a popular option. That and the fact that they can be bought in singles or in small packages. A couple bucks will buy a 3 pack, or about 70 cents each. Popular when you live dollar by dollar.

I know that they are popular here, as you can’t walk without seeing the empty wrappers everywhere. On dog walks, or even cycling in the neighborhood, you see them all over.

It is sobering to be reminded on such small items of how close to poverty many people live today.

Update: A friend who shall be nameless mentioned that there is possibly another explanation for all the Swisher Sweets wrappers, than people who could only afford a couple of smokes at a time. Apparently they are opened up, the tobacco stripped out, and then stuffed with marijuana. We might have a pot-head problem instead of a poverty problem.  Not sure that is better though.

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By geoffand

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October 2014

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