Jordanian Mohammed Qandil said he does not care how many cigarettes he smokes a day, nor does he express concern about its health risks.
Qandil, who works in a jewellery store, began smoking in 1998 when he was in his 20s.
"I will not quit smoking because it helps me forget the worries and pressures of everyday life," he told Al-Shorfa.
He estimated he smokes 30 cigarettes a day at a cost of 70 dinars (almost $100) per month, an expense of more than 10% of his monthly salary.
According to Jordan's Department of Statistics, which published a report May 31st marking World No Tobacco Day, Jordanian families spent 37% more on tobacco and cigarettes in 2010 than they did in 2008. They spent 481 million dinars ($680 million) on cigarettes in 2010, up from 352 million dinars ($497 million) in 2008.
The report said each family, on average, spent 424 dinars ($600) on tobacco in 2010.
Annual household expenditure on tobacco and cigarettes varied based on the occupation of the head of the household. Individuals who worked low- or entry-level jobs spent the most, followed by machine operators and assemblers, craftsmen and others with related professions. The lowest average expenditure on tobacco was found among individuals who have specialised occupations.
"Mr. Qandil is one of many Jordanian smokers who believe their smoking is an escape from the pressures of daily life, when in fact it is one of the causes of their problems and quitting is one of the solutions," said Zaidoun Bakour, a social services specialist.
The percentage of smokers in Jordan aged 18 and above is around 29%, according to the health ministry. Around 48% of males and 10% of females aged 25 and above are smokers.
"Most official estimates put the actual number of smokers at one in three Jordanians, but smoking is seen as a widespread phenomenon in a society in which 14% live in abject poverty," Bakour said.
He said smoking cessation clinics could reduce the number of smokers, calling for their opening across all Jordanian provinces.
Dr. Malek Habashneh, director of health media for the health ministry, said his ministry is planning to open such clinics in all of the kingdom's 12 provinces by 2013.
"The 29% of Jordanians over the age of 18 who smoke represent a high percentage compared to the rest of the world," Habashneh said, noting that the economic costs of smoking are not limited to direct spending on tobacco but also include indirect public healthcare costs.
Habashneh added that he estimated the direct and indirect costs of smoking in Jordan at one billion dinars ($1.4 billion) a year.