Cuba Ends the Elderly Cigarette Gravy Train

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A man smokes a cigarette near a mural with a Cuban flag in Holguin.

REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

It’s like giving candy to a baby.

Cuba currently respects their elders by offering four packs of cigarettes a month for about 25% of the normal price. Nice gesture, huh? Or, maybe they just didn’t know how to deal with an aging population and thought, ah-ha!, that’s the ticket. Alas, come September Cuba’s elderly will have to pay full-price for their cancer sticks. On the plus side, maybe they’ll live a little longer.

The move is President Raul Castro latest attempt to shore up government spending, says BBC. The government-run media said the measure goes toward the goal of eliminating subsidies. The potential health benefits were not mentioned.