$73.90 for two packs of 30 cigarettes per pack.

That is what I saw a man pay at the cigarette counter in a Woolworths store in Darwin.’s northern suburbs the other day. He purchased two packets of cigarettes with 30 cigarettes in each packet. That works out at $1.23 a cigarette.

Then I got to thinking about the other “social pleasures” for which people pay big heaps of money without thinking. This led me to the following conclusion.

I believe that if Territorians didn’t smoke, drank in moderation, gave up gambling and refrained from non prescription drug usage, personal poverty and penury would reduce by at least 80%. Health would improve, there would be fewer accidents and far less pressure on hospitals.

They would also be a lot less need for Saint Vincent DePaul’s, the Smith Family, cat food bank, and various other organisations that are working so hard to alleviate pressure is hard up up families and destitute people.

There would be no need for breakfast programs in schools (which are mushrooming and multiplying almost exponentially).

The work done by the Salvation Army, the Australian Red Cross and other major other charities would be hugely reduced.

So much money is wasted. Wasted by single people wasted by families and wasted every day, week, month and year.

Penury and destitution are everywhere. And that poverty is the outcome that results from choices and establishment of expenditure priorities. Unfortunately, when people are helped and supported by charities or by institutions taking responsibility for what should be offered by families, that can leave more money to be wasted on things that have caused the destitution problem in the first place.

Thus the situation becomes one that is “Catch-22”. The support that is offered can exacerbate the problem, compounding the issue and requiring even more support to be given to overcome shortfalls occasioned by the priorities that these families have established.

So this unfortunate spiral downwards continues and there seems to be no end point.

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