Smoking Makes Bibles Cost More

The Logos Bible Software Blog points to an article about how the rise of smoking in China drives up the cost of Bible paper.

There are at least two good reasons to stop smoking. Number one: It may damage your health. Number two: It raises the production costs for Bibles, ASSIST News Service reports. The Chinese craving for cigarettes is responsible for rising paper costs in bible printing, according to the business manager of the German Bible Society, Felix Breidenstein. Because of the rising demand for cigarette paper in China the special thin paper used in bible printing is getting more expensive, as Breidenstein told the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Also see the original article (in German) or Google’s translation.

The same paper machines that produce Bible paper also produce other very thin papers like cigarette paper. Bible paper weighs about 35 grams per square meter (gsm, or grammage), while cigarette paper weighs about 20-24 gsm. Typical photocopier paper weighs about 80 gsm.

These thin-paper machines produce proportionally less Bible paper as they use more of their capacity for cigarette paper. Prices for Bible paper naturally rise when supply falls.

Other factors affect the recent increase in Bible-paper costs (including higher prices for raw materials), but the two trillion cigarettes smoked annually by the Chinese (and the 3.5 trillion smoked elsewhere) play a part.