Tuesday 22 June 2021

Black Market for a “Blanco”

Buying a single cigarette – a “blanco” in Tico slang – and smoking it while walking in the streets of downtown San José has been around a long time. Today, however, sales of single cigarettes is “illegal”.

blancoArticle 18 of the anti tobacco law that went into effect in March of last year prohibits the sale of cigarettes less than a full 20 pack.

In “Chepe” (downtown San José), although the law makes it illegal, the black market for a loosie is at almost every corner.

- Advertisement -

The market, faced with the prohibition, is responding in creative ways, like coming up with new names replacing the well known lanco. “Me da una curita”  is one of the terms of the the new slang.

The confusion comes in that a “curita” also refers to a band aid.  A typical transaction can do like this, customer asking for a “curita”, the vendor responding with, “una curita curita o una curita curita curita?”

Another slang word for a single cigarette overheard is “una sauve” (literal translation, a smooth one). Everyone seems to have a different name for it. “Halls” or “pastillas” are two other slang versions for a single cigarette, the former not referring to the popular candy, the latter not to a tablet (like in an aspirin).

Whatever it is called, a single cigarette runs about ¢150 colones on the streets of Chepe, double the price if one were to buy a full 20 pack, that runs between ¢1.300 and ¢1.500.

- Advertisement -

The sale of a single cigarette, though being a great service for the “social” smoker, it is a big earner for vendors who now are breaking the law with each sale.

One vendor told the Q, “times are tough, people don’t have the money to buy a full pack, one offers the single to satisfy the customer”.

What is apparent though, is that a vendor won’t sell the single just to anyone. Standing on one of the corners on the Boulevard, we can see vendors looking twice over a potential customer for a single cigarette. Some vendors will only sell singles to established customers, those customers making purchases before the change in the law.

The risk for the vendor is a fine of one half the base salary or ¢150.000 colones for each occurrence. No fine is imposed for the customer attempting to or buying a single cigarette.

The common thread among vendors is that despite the high fines, they take the risk due to necessity. Most of the vendors say they know that smoking is bad for health, but people have their vices and they have families to feed.

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

Cuba Plane Crash: Company ‘Had Safety Complaints’

Solidarity and investigations after the accident. Cuban authorities are investigating the...

The Volcanos Of Central America (By Country)

Among the things most loved by travelers to Central America is...


Heavy downpours generated the first phreatic eruption of this year at the Turrialba volcano

QCOSTARICA - Several residents of La Pastora, La Central and Monte Calas, in the vicinity of the Turrialba volcano, heard a loud rumbling early...

Today’s Covid News: Less than 800 new cases for the first time in two months

QCOSTARICA - For the first time in two months, less than 800 new cases of covid-19 in a single day were registered on June...

Weather, friendly locals, cost of living: expats in Mexico, Costa Rica enjoy same things

EXPAT FOCUS (MND) Of course it was no surprise that readers of Mexico News Daily voted Mexico as the No. 1 expat destination in...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 19: only “ODDS” can circulate

Today, Saturday, June 19, only vehicles with "ODD" ending plates CAN circulate The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save...

First five months of the year reflect recovery of Costa Rican exports

QCOSTARICA - The value of Costa Rica exports increased by 23% in the first five months of the year, being the highest growth in...

Week immersed in passage of tropical wave, June Solstice and Veranillo

QCOSTARICA - Today, Monday, June 21, is the day of the year when the sun stays the longest on the horizon, therefore it is...

Construction companies that paid alleged bribes would be disqualified for ten years

QCOSTARICA - If it is proven in a final judgment that they did pay bribes to Conavi officials, several companies could be disqualified from...

Vaccination commission endorses J & J vaccine, says no to Sinovac

QCOSTARICA - The Comisión Nacional de Vacunación y Epidemiología (CNVE)  - National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission - endorsed the use of Johnson and Johnson...

Internet speed decreases during peaks in service

QCOSTARICA - Ever wonder why your surfing on the Internet slows down, to even a crawl, mainly in the evenings? This is due to...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.