“You can burn down your house smoking”. “You can drink your dreams away”. The fact that addiction is bad for financial balance is well known. But that it can be economically devastating for the average Indian was somewhat of an eye-opener for us. This topic struck our curiosity when we realized that it was virtually impossible for us to have even one drink without seriously affecting our daily budget. To get a better picture of the situation, we interviewed a couple of pan walas (the road side tobacco and pan sellers) and also visited couple of suburban liquor stores. You can see a video interview here. The following is a summary of what we learned:
1. A Katta of Bidi (pack of local 24 cigarettes): Cost Rs. 10; average consumption is 1 – 2 kattas per day.
2. A Gutka or a small packet of chewing tobacco costs Rs. 2 – 4 per packet; Average consumption is 10 – 15 packets per day.
3. A standard “Quarter” bottle of the cheapest alcohol at the liquor store: 180ml. Cost Rs. 45 – 50; Average consumption is 1 bottle (daily for some, weekly or bi-weekly for others).
Using these numbers, we ran the following sensitivity analyses on the possible scenarios for the total spend on addiction related expenses: