• Gaza

  • Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 1:43 PM
    Last Update : Friday, November 10, 2023 at 9:59 AM

Smokers in Gaza Engage in a Different Kind of Battle

(AWP) - While Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are struggling with the lack of food, drinking water and medicines amidst the blockade imposed by Israel for the past 30 days, smokers complain of the massive rise in the price of cigarettes which now surpasses their purchasing power.

One smoker says that he can only afford to buy loose cigarettes rather than in packs and accuses merchants of profiteering in the face of scarcity.

Adel al-Farra, a Palestinian displaced to Khan Yunis from the south of the Gaza Strip, says, "As you can see today, a pack of cigarettes that used to cost 12 [Israeli] shekels is now 16. The 18 [shekel] one is now 22. I’m a smoker but now I hardly smoke five a day… I buy them singly and now one cigarette costs 1.5 shekels."

He adds, "Now I’m quitting smoking to look for food and drink. Let merchants who increase the price of cigarettes live happily then."

In front of his small cart in al-Satar al-Gharbi in Khan Yunis, cigarette seller Mohammed al-Dali says that all smokers are now buying "loosies" and not packs.

"They are all loosies. Cigarettes are now a shekel and a half, and people cannot afford them. Now they must choose between cigarettes and food. There is no income. The country has no income and there is no aid coming in – nothing is coming in. We are tired of the situation we are in."

His brother Mamdouh, who helps him make tea and coffee and sell cigarettes to customers, similarly said "People are now buying loose cigarettes… they have no money and can barely buy food.  They can barely feed their children. People have no money."