Best of 2000: Best Place To Save $27 Per Carton Of Cigarettes

Mercado la Voz del Pueblo
Plaza Santa Cecilia
(near 1st and Revolución),

No one's perfect: You're a smoker. Okay, you just indulge when you're out, when you've got that drink. But when the cheroot costs more than the martini you're glugging, what's the world coming to? Vons is charging 36 bucks for a carton of Marlboros. Uncle Sam adds his percentage. Total, $38.78. Or -- let's see -- five quirleys (as cowboys call cigs) for a dollar. You'd just about pay less flying round-trip to Cuba and bringing back a hundred puros. But wait! The Voice of the People is here to help out. At La Voz del Pueblo, a mercado in Tijuana's Plaza Santa Cecilia (just off 1st Street at the bottom of Revolución), you can pick up a carton for, like, five clams. Five cucumbers! Five rutabagas! Actually, Faros ovalados ("Lighthouse" ovals) come in cartons of 12 packs, each with 18 cigarettes, and cost 48 pesos when last we checked. Tigres ("Tigers") with 12 18-cig packs cost 53 pesos (about $5.50). That's a saving of, oh, $33; say, 700 percent per carton. (If you cross the river to the border-crossing side of Tijuana, expect to pay up to double.) But be warned. These frajos aren't filtered. These aren't lite. These are fast-burning, full-strength lung dusters.

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