What is taking the FDA so long to make a decision on e-cigarettes?

man late looking to his watch
Oh God, I’ve finally resorted to using lame clip art. I’ve gone to the Dark Side.

The other day, I was wondering, “what the hell is going on with the Food and Drug Administration and e-cigarettes, it’s been forever since I last heard.”

So, a quick Google and found stories stating that I’m not the only one out there wondering, “what the hell?”

Over a year ago, the FDA released its proposed regulations for e-cigarettes. The agency received so many comments about the draft regs that the comment period was extended. Over a year later, we’re still waiting for a response.

TIME.com stock photos
TIME.com stock photos

The FDA did one right thing in its draft regulations, which was to ban all e-cig sales to minors (42 states have already banned e-cig sales to minors, but this is not slowing their popularity with kids.). However, in the draft regs, the agency completely punted on regulating sugary candy flavours for e-cigs (Even though the FDA banned sugary, candy-flavoured cigarettes) and ignored regulating e-cig marketing (Again … even though the federal government has strict guidelines for tobacco advertising, like no more Joe Camels.).

Many of the comments the FDA received were outrage over the lack of regs over flavourings and marketing. I’m not sure how to read the long delay for the final regs, I’d like to think it’s taking so long because they’re making a lot of changes, but I’m not that naive to think a federal agency is actually going to listen to the public.).

Last week, 31 public health organizations urged the FDA to stop dawdling and taking action. In the past year since the FDA has been working on the final version of the regulations, teen e-cigarette use has skyrocketed (It literally has more than tripled since 2013, which is hard to believe.). These groups agree that regs regarding marketing and flavouring need to be stronger than what was in the draft rules (I feel very strongly that the feds need to crack down on the out-of-control Joe Camelesque advertising for e-cigs, and I’m starting to feel more strongly about them banning the candy flavours, too.):

From a Time.com article:

The medical groups say cigar and e-cigarette brands are using marketing tactics that they feel appeal directly to young people, like promoting candy and fruit-flavored products, and they want regulations to put an end to it.

“It’s no wonder use of e-cigarettes by youth has skyrocketed,” the letter reads. “This process has already taken far too long. We cannot afford more delays that allow tobacco companies to target our kids with a new generation of tobacco products.”


“My concern is always the first-time users,” says Shyam Biswal, a professor in the department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “It’s bad it took so long to make a dent in [conventional] tobacco users, and we are now starting something else, and we are just waiting and waiting and waiting. We don’t have the data that e-cigarettes are a gateway [to other tobacco products], so we just wait. It should not be like that.”

Noted tobacco control advocate Stanton Glantz sounds like he’s in the same boat with me about the FDA, given the agency’s track record so far with tobacco. (The FDA gained regulatory control over tobacco products in 2009.)

“Given that the White House has blocked eliminating menthol from cigarettes for years despite strong evidence—including from the FDA’s own analysis that doing so would protect public health—I am not holding my breath,” Glantz said.

I mean, I expected the FDA to begin actually regulating nicotine when it took over tobacco regulation six years ago, and other than banning candy flavours  for cigarettes and bidis, it hasn’t done all that much with nicotine. This agency moves glacially slow. It’s frustrating.

Big Tobacco ordered to admit it lied; Industry appeals, appellate court says, ‘You lied, admit it’

sorry puppy
“We’re sorry we lied…”

Hah, I thought this story was GREAT.

Several months ago, Tobacco companies were ordered by a federal district judge to take out full-page ads in a bunch of major newspapers, admitting that they lied for decades about the dangers of cigarette smoking.

The decision was made as part of a racketeering case filed against the industry by the U.S. Justice Department. (I love the term “RICO case” … sounds like something out of the Untouchables.)

Well, the tobacco industry doesn’t like being forced to say “we lied” and appealed this decision. The appellants were the three major tobacco companies in the U.S. — Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard.

Last week, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision.

From a Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids press statement:

(This)  ruling upholds the specific language of the five corrective statements ordered by Judge Kessler. The corrective statements will address the companies’ deceptions regarding 1) the adverse health effects of smoking; 2) the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine; 3) the false advertising of low-tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes; 4) the design of cigarettes to maximize nicotine delivery and addiction; and 5) the health effects of secondhand smoke.

The Court of Appeals did remove a preamble stating that the tobacco companies “deliberately deceived the American public,” but the bulk of the “corrective statement” — the five specific lies and deceptions of the tobacco companies, remained intact in the ruling.

I don’t know if the tobacco companies will appeal this ruling (or where such an appeal would go — the U.S. Supreme Court?)

The District Court judge who issued the original ruling stated in her decision that:

“[This case] is about an industry, and in particular these Defendants, that survives, and profits, from selling a highly addictive product which causes diseases that lead to a staggering number of deaths per year, an immeasurable amount of human suffering and economic loss, and a profound burden on our national health care system. Defendants have known many of these facts for at least 50 years or more. Despite that knowledge, they have consistently, repeatedly and with enormous skill and sophistication, denied these facts to the public, the Government, and to the public health community … the evidence in this case clearly establishes that Defendants have not ceased engaging in unlawful activity.”

Joining the case as intervenors are the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, National African American Tobacco Prevention Network and the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund.

UK study: E-cigarettes not effective in the longterm in helping smokers quit


This study is going to go against a lot of anecdotal stories that I see repeatedly on the Internet. A study done in the UK has shown that E-cigarettes are not very effective for helping smokers quit and that most smokers who use E-cigs as a smoking cessation tool are back smoking within six months.

In a way, it’s not terribly shocking because the biggest problem with using e-cigs to quit is that the smoker is keeping the nicotine in his or her system and is not kicking the nicotine … which is ultimately what a smoker must do in the long run. I’ve seen a lot of e-cig advocates online touting them as a great help in quitting smoking. They claim you can slowly ratchet down the amount of nicotine you’re inhaling over the course of a few weeks.

I’m sure they’re a great help for some people, but I’ve also sure wondered at times how many of those people online telling these great success stories about e-cigs are actually from the marketing or public relations department of Blu E-cigs and other e-cig companies.

These findings were based on a review of 22 studies on e-cigs involving a total of 2,223 smokers. The study states that e-cigs seem pretty effective in helping smokers quit for three to six months, but after six months, most of the e-cig users were back on cigarettes. (So maybe some of the anecdotal stories I’ve read are coming from people in that three- to six-month period in which the e-cigs are still working.).

Scientists behind the study said that if smokers are serious about quitting, they should probably try more traditional methods, such as patches or gum, rather than e-cigs.

From the article:

Lead author Dr Riyad al-Lehebi, of the University of Toronto, said nicotine patches and other aids to help people quit should be used if there is no evidence e-cigarettes help people kick the habit.

E-cigarette users took up smoking again within six months, and the devices caused side effects like a dry cough, throat irritation and shortness of breath (file photo)

He said: ‘Although e-cigarettes are widely promoted and used as a smoking cessation tool, we found no data supporting their long-term efficacy and safety.

‘While e-cigarettes have been shown to significantly improve abstinence at one month compared with placebo, no such evidence is available supporting their effectiveness for longer periods.

‘Until such data are available, there are a number of other smoking cessation aids available that have a more robust evidence base supporting their efficacy and safety.’

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death in the UK, and we would encourage smokers who wish to quit to first try more well-established methods like smoking cessation services.

‘E-cigarettes are likely to be much less harmful then smoking conventional cigarettes so people who can switch using e-cigarettes have taken a big step forward.

‘However, the use of e-cigarettes is still relatively new, and these studies serve as a reminder that there may be potential risks attached to the long-term use of e-cigarettes so users, especially those living with a lung condition such as COPD and asthma, should try to quit them too.

My biggest issue with e-cigs isn’t whether they are an effective or ineffective smoking cessation tool. It’s the fact that a number of e-cig companies are very blatantly marketing to teens and kids with sexy and suave ads mirroring the sexy and suave ads used by Big Tobacco for several decades. Largely because of this advertising, and the lack of regulations over e-cig sales, teen use of e-cigs is skyrocketing while teen use of cigarettes is plummeting. To me, this is not the right answer. Nicotine is nicotine whatever the delivery system and It’s still massively addictive and this study shows to me that e-cigs are not an effective substitute for tobacco.

CVS study on smoking cessation: When money is on the line, it encourages smokers to quit


CVS Pharmacies, which is well-known for pulling all tobacco products out of its chain of drug stores, recently helped with a study on smoking cessation with some interesting results.

Participants in the study were actually recruited by CVS, which apparently is very serious about combating tobacco use. Participants were offered a variety of incentives to quit smoking and one of the conclusions of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is that it appears that providing a financial incentive to quit worked much better than expected.

Smokers were given a choice of which program to participate in. One scenario had smokers give a $150 deposit, and they would receive their deposit back, plus a $650 bonus if they quit. The other simply offered an $800 payment if they quit.


Only a small percentage of people agreed to the deposit, but those that did were much more successful than the group vying for the $800 reward. So, the incentive of not wanting to lose money seemed to have more power than winning money you didn’t already have.

“People don’t want to part with their money,” Dr. Scott Halpern, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine who led the study, explained to NBC News. “Among those who would have accepted either program, the deposit-based programs were twice as effective as the rewards-based programs and five times more effective than the standard of care which was provision of free access to behavior modification therapy and nicotine replacement therapy.”

While overall, the financial reward/penalty group had a low rate of success in quitting smoking, it still had a higher success rate than people being offered Nicorette or nicotine patches.

CVS is going to put this idea into practice. The company will offer its employees a $700 bonus if they quit smoking (plus the return of a $50 deposit.).

More companies are providing financial incentives on health coverage for smokers to quit. Also, this someone backs up a point I’ve made for several years — one of the benefits of raising taxes on cigarettes (and one of the quiet benefits of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, which helped raise the cost of cigarettes) is that it does work to encourage smokers to quit. When smokers realize they’re spending $50-$100 or more a week on cigarettes, that’s a real-world incentive to quit.

“Redline” — Speed Racer on steroids and the slow, sad death of an amazing art form

Redline 24

“Redline” is one of the most technically amazing and wildest films I’ve ever seen. It is also a mostly unknown film outside of Japan.

Redline took an amazing seven years to make. Why did it take so long? Because it contains more than 100,000 individually hand-drawn cells. That’s 100,000 different paintings done … by hand.

Redline 1That right there explains why hand-drawn animation is a dying art form; Pixar and DreamWorks using computer power can crank out two or three feature films a year. Pixar movies are cute and there’s no questioning the quality of the work done on these computer-animated films. But it’s still kind of sad to see hand-drawn animation slowly fading. It’s nearly gone in the U.S. Even a lot of the animation you see on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon is actually computer animation made to look hand-drawn.Redline 11

Hand-drawn animation is simply hard, grueling, time- and labour-intensive compared to what you can do with computers. Where hand-drawn animation is staying alive is in Japan (and even in Japan computer animation is slowly taking over.).

Which brings us to “Redline.” The work on “Redline” began way back in 2003. The movie was delayed several times and was not released until 2010. (I’ve tried to find out how well it did in Japan, but information about it is limited.). It saw a limited release in the U.S., but has gained a cult following through people renting or buying the DVDs or watching it online.

Redline24It was the first full-length feature film made by Takeshi Koike (the only other thing of his I’ve seen is the opening animation to Samurai Champloo and a segment of “Animatrix” called “World Record.” When I first saw “Redline,” I was immediately reminded of that chapter from Animatrix and figured it had to be the same animator. His style is quite unique and unlike anything else you see in anime.).Redline 12

It is an absolutely visual feast and one the strangest and most unique anime you’ll ever see. Very much like a Hiyao Miyazaki movie, you can watch the film a couple of dozen times and see things you didn’t catch before. An anime technique, which was originally done to save money but became a staple of the anime ethos, is the use of still-frame. Long, still close-ups of characters with little or no movement was done to cut costs to begin with, but it became a source of dramatic tension the anime world.Redline 22

There’s none of that in “Redline.” In virtually every frame, there is a ton of movement, not only from the main characters, but in the background. Constant, non-stop movement both in the forefront and the background is the staple of this film. It’s simply mind-blowing to watch this 105-minute film (and that’s short by Japanese standards) and to think, “my goodness, this is ALL hand-drawn?” It just doesn’t seem possible.Redline 21

“Redline” takes place in an alien world in which racers compete in tricked-out vehicles in no-holds-barred races without rules or boundaries. There are few traditional anime-appearing characters. Most of the characters are odd-looking aliens. The main character, J.P., looks like a rockabilly reject from the 1950s and doesn’t look like anything you would see in most anime (I’ve been told he somewhat resembles a character called Space Dandy, but I’ve never seen that old anime.).Redline 18

The closest any character comes to appearing like a traditional anime is a woman driver named Shonosee McClaren. (Big eyes and of course amply bosomed — there is the almost obligatory nude fanservice scene with Shonosee. You see so much of this is Japanese anime, you just kind of become numb to the inherent sexism there, like why is she the only character we get to see nude. It’s simply part of the ingrained culture of anime and I don’t try to defend it. It’s from Japan and it is what it is.)Redline 15

The film borrows heavily from a number of other anime and even some non-anime films. There are scenes which will make you think of “Speed Racer,” though it’s a massively bulked up version of that ancient anime. Shonosee even drives a car that looks a little bit like the Mach 5 from “Speed Racer.”

The races also reminded me of the pod races from Star Wars I; there’s scenes that harken to the “Road Warrior.” The character of “Funky Boy” a giant, grotesque biological weapon, reminded me of both the mutant Tetsuo in “Akira” and the Giant Warrior of “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.” The mutant monster that Col. Volton becomes reminded me of the gluttonous No Face from “Spirited Away.”

Redline 7Another character, Old Man Mole reminded me of the six-armed character Kamaji from “Spirited Away” (At this point, I was expected the soot balls from “Spirited Away” to show up.) The floating laser cannons reminded me of the diamond star gates of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” There’s a battle scene that reminded me of the big opening battle scene from Star Wars III.

I don’t think all of these reminders were by accident. One could accuse “Redline” of being derivative, but I love homages and “Redline” throws so many homages out there that it doesn’t feel like it’s simply ripping off older films. It just feels like part of the over-the-top, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink vibe to the whole film.

Redline 2“Redline” is not an especially deep or ponderous movie. In the end, it’s simply a silly, weirded-out space race movie, and it’s bloody fun to watch. The fact that this film took seven years to make doesn’t bode well I think for the continuation of hand-drawn animation. The future has arrived and films like “Redline” will become more and more a rarity.

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Redline has been pulled from YouTube for copyright infringement. Here are some AMVs:

“Mad Men” and the smoking culture of the ’60s — killing off one of its characters through lung cancer

betty draper
Betty Draper is being killed off with lung cancer

One of the things that the show “Mad Men” has gained notoriety for is its depiction of the hedonistic culture of the establishment of the 1960s — from three martini lunches to infidelity and most obviously, smoking.

Main character Don Draper smokes heavily and has been in charge of advertising campaigns for cigarette brands. In fact, most of the characters on the show are seen every episode smoking. I’m old enough to remember that that’s what it was like back in those days. Virtually everyone smoked … and in my experience, virtually all of those smokers eventually died or was seriously sickened by their smoking. Smoking was glamorous in the 1960s, it was a horror in the 1970s and 1980s when all that “glamour” started killing everyone off through heart and lung disease.


One of the main characters, Don Draper’s ex-wife Betty Draper has been diagnosed with lung cancer and is dying. The show takes place in 1970 and it’s very true that a lung cancer diagnosis in 1970 was pretty much a death sentence. So “Mad Men” is not only showing the Devil-may-care culture of the 1960s, but one of the consequences of that culture — which is a hell of a lot of people back then died of lung cancer (In fact, I’ve called it the “slow-motion tobacco holocaust of the 20th century.”).

HuffPost wrote about how cancer diagnoses worked in the early 1970s and suggested “Mad Men” was spot-in about the stigma around a cancer diagnosis in those days.

Smoking seemed cool and glamorous well through the 1960s. It was cool and glamorous not only in billboards and magazine ads, but in countless movies of the time. James Bond smoked cigarettes. Matt Helm smoked cigarettes (and Dean Martin died of lung cancer and emphysema), etc.

Don Draper

From a Daily Beast column on Betty Draper’s lung cancer. This column by Lizzie Crocker about smoking on the show is absolute awesome. I’m quoting several paragraphs here because she is explaining this much better than I can (Since I’ve never really watched the much of the show):

As with many of the series’ final episodes, the decision to kill off Betty with lung cancer was rather on-the-nose. For a show in which so little actually happens, it’s clear Matthew Weiner, the show’s creator, is rushing to tie up loose ends, like Betty and Sally’s fraught relationship, which has led to some soap-operatic plot twists.

We knew someone was going to die in these final episodes, and the fraught, discontented, ill-fated Betty, still in her 30s, had to suffer the health consequences of chain-smoking that everyone else on Mad Men has managed to avoid. Roger had a heart attack earlier in the series and he still puffs away with impunity.

But not Betty, whose diagnosis is confirmed not by the doctor but by her husband Henry, having just received ‘the news.’ When she reaches for a pack of cigarettes in the car, he angrily snatches them and tosses them in the back.

We see her disease-clogged lungs on an X-ray; a desperate Henry breaking down when he visits Sally at school; Sally devastated and covering her ears when Henry tells her about the diagnosis.


The link between smoking and cancer has always lurked in the background of the show. In the pilot, “Smoke Gets in Their Eyes,” Don has to think of a clever way to sell Lucky Strikes after the 1960 Reader’s Digest report linking cigarettes and cancer. The client isn’t pleased when Pete suggests they work society’s “death wish” into a new campaign slogan.

But Don saves the day with a pitch emphasizing how Lucky Strikes are made: “Everyone else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strikes are toasted.” All cigarettes are toasted, of course, but consumers don’t know that. “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness,” Don tells the client.

Happiness is “the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear.” And all Lucky Strike smokers need is “a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing, it’s ok.”


And as we close in on the series finale, Betty’s diagnosis seems to be the apogee of the show’s relationship with smoking.

That slow-motion shot of the sauntering Peggy from two Sundays ago, one of the most memorable moments this season, will likely be the last time that we see a cigarette as emblematic of anything other than anxiety and death.

Cigarettes, and their celebration, were one of the vital accessories of Mad Men, the show’s perverse fuel. Now, stripped of their allure like those stripped of their status in the move from SCDP to McCann, they’ve come to signify the very literal death of the show.

Madison Bumgarner, Bruce Bochy both support ban on chewing tobacco at AT&T Park

Bumgarner, Bochy

Surprised me a bit that these two would step into this issue, but I thought it was great. The city of San Francisco banned chewing tobacco recently at all sporting venues (It won’t actually take effect until Jan. 1, 2016), including at the Giants’ stadium, AT&T Park. This means that not only fans can’t chew in the park, but players can’t either.

World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and manager Bruce Bochy expressed their support for the move last week.

From a Los Angeles Times article:

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy applauded the decision: “It’s a step in the right direction,” he told the team’s website. “I think it can be a good thing. It’s going to be hard to enforce. It’s a tough habit to break.”

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner also supported the law. “Hopefully it will be a positive thing for us players. It’s not an easy thing to stop doing, but I support the city.”

There is also a bill winding its way through the California Assembly to ban chewing tobacco at all ballparks in the state, which would include AT&T, Dodger Stadium, Petco in San Diego, the Oakland Coliseum and the L.A. Angels’ stadium.

AT&T Park (AP photo)

Major League Baseball is under increasing pressure to ban chewing tobacco in all ballparks, especially since the death of Tony Gwynn from salivary gland cancer (Tony blamed chew for his death and another high-profile player, Curt Schilling, recently underwent treatment for oral cancer which he also blamed on chewing tobacco.). For some mysterious reason, there is a culture of chew deeply embedded in baseball culture. Not only have quite a few ballplayers over the years died of oral or throat cancer (Babe Ruth is the most well-known), but it sets a bad example for teenage baseball players.

However, MLB can’t simply ban chew by players on the field without the approval of the Players’ Association. A chewing tobacco ban is expected to be one of the topics of negotiation between MLB and the Players’ Association in their next contract.

Chew is already banned in all minor league and NCAA baseball parks, so it’s not like there isn’t any precedent.


The Simpsons’ epic takedown of e-cigarettes and e-cig marketing to kids

simpsons vaping 2
I screencapped this off of Hulu, that is why there is a caption in the upper left-hand corner.

I absolutely LOVED this episode of the Simpsons. I want to give Matt Groening a big hug. Last week, the Simpsons had an absolutely devastating takedown of e-cigarettes and how they are marketed to kids. Oh, man, I would have LOVED to have been in the boardroom of Blu E-cigs on Monday morning after this episode.

simpsons vaping 4

In this episode (I am having to post screencaps from Hulu because that’s the only legal way I can do it … I’m not even positive it’s legal this way.), Bart meets his friend Millhouse’s cute older Dutch cousin Annika Van Houten (this is cute. Simpsons writers are a big fan of Game of Thrones and the Dutch actress who plays Melisandre — her name is Carice Van Houten), who is a big fan of e-cigs. She introduces Bart to e-cigs.

simpsons vaping 6
Bart is offered bubblegum, strawberry shortcake and watermelon nicotine flavours for his e-cigarettes.

Annika asks Bart to go the Quickie Mart to buy five packs of e-cigs (it wouldn’t be packs, but cartridges). Bart slaps a five-dollar bill on Apu’s counter and Apu pulls out a pack of “Laramie e-cigs” (which looks exactly like Marlboros, funny joke because RJ Reynolds own the biggest e-cig company out there — Blu E-cigarettes) and says:

“Though it’s legal in this state, you’re asking for a nicotine delivery device that could quite possibly leave your breathing through a hole in your neck.”

simpsons vaping 5

Bart then imagines how cool it would be to have a hole in his neck, where he could eat spinach without actually having to taste it.

Apu adds:

“You are right, but remember this is not kids’ stuff. Now, would you like bubblegum flavour, strawberry shortcake or watermelon dream.”

simpsons vaping 10
Maggie finds one of Bart’s e-cigs.

Oh, SNAP. This is awesome. I literally squealed out loud.  Here is THE issue with e-cigs. This is what pisses me off SO MUCH about e-cigarettes. They’re not marketed to kids? Bullshit. Why are there so many candy and fruity flavours then? These aren’t for grown-ups. These are  for 14- and 15-year-olds. You aren’t … fooling … anyone, Blu and every other e-cig company out there.

Later, Marge catches Bart vaping e-cigs. Bart’s response: “It’s still legal in this state … the bill is stuck in committee.” Yup, the Simpsons got it right. The FDA has proposed banning e-cig sales to minors, but those regulations have been stuck in the “draft” phase for well over a year now. In many states, young teens can still easily buy e-cigs.

simpsons vaping 12
Bart tells Annika to take her “poison penlights.”

When Marge tells Homer about Bart using e-cigs, Homer says, “Oh, those are totally legal. Tell me, does he like bubblegum or strawberry?”

In the end, Bart tells Annika off at the airport as she returns to the Netherlands, telling her to “take these poison penlights with you.”

Thank you, Simpsons. Thank you, thank you. For this epic takedown of what’s turned into an absolutely craven, amoral industry — e-cigarettes.




SI Golf cover features Spanish golfer smoking cigar

SI golf cover

My initial reaction when my issue of SI Golf arrived in the mail today was, “WTH!?” (Actually, something stronger than that, but I try to keep this a family blog.)

On the cover is a Spanish PGA golfer named Miguel Angel Jimenez, smoking a cigar, with the headline, “Smokin’.” The article then features several photos of him smoking.

Well, apparently, it turns out that cigars are a big part of this golfer’s persona. He has been known to smoke cigars while actually competing in tournaments.

Now, the article addresses his cigar habit, and his love of whiskey, in the opening paragraph:

“I come from a different generation. And I’m not a hypocrite. I don’t hide the way I am. If I want to have a drink, I have a drink. Why shouldn’t I? Is it illegal to drink alcohol? Is tobacco illegal? So why should I care if people see me smoking? I do what I do out in the open. If people have a problem with that, they can their tongue up their ass and let the rest of us do what we want to do.”

SI golf 2

OK, I get that. The guy’s got a “don’t give a shit … I go my own way” attitude. Fine. Did SI have to put a photo of him puffing away on their cover  to make this point? NO! Did they have to post six — count ’em, six — other photos of him smoking to make their point? NO. John Daly smoked like a chimney, I don’t ever remember an SI cover of him smoking.

I’m not mad at the golfer, I’m mad at SI for continuing to promote smoking (SI has a long history of taking ads for chew, cigarettes and e-cigarettes). It’s a track record with these guys at this point.


The Real Cost of Smoking extremely gross and hopefully effective anti-smoking campaign

real cost of smoking
Oh, God, he’s actually going to pull out one of his teeth.

Wow, I saw an anti-smoking commercial this week that literally just made me cringe.

It’s from a campaign called “the Real Cost of Smoking.” In this ad, a guy goes to the counter to buy a pack of menthols and the clerk looks at his money and says, “that’s not enough.”

What does the guy do? He pulled out a pair of pliers and literally yanks out one of his teeth and drops it on the counter. “Oh, man …. I did not actually just see that,” was my reaction. I’ve seen it a few times since and every time, I look away … and I don’t even smoke. I can’t imagine how cringe-worthy the ad is for smokers to watch, which I suppose is the actual point.

The commercial goes on to say that smoking menthols causes gum damage.

In this ad, a teenaged girl pulls the skin off her cheek.

There’s another “The Real Cost of Smoking” ad I saw a few weeks ago that’s almost as gross. A young woman goes to the counter in this one, the clerk likewise says, “that’s not enough,” and she peels the skin off her cheek and drops it on the counter. The point being that smoking causes skin damage.

These ads are actually from the Food and Drug Administration. These are the kind of ads I would expect from Truth.org but not the federal government. These are the first anti-smoking ads from the FDA, and they’re obviously taking a cue from Truth.org to create intense anti-smoking ads.

Anyway, here is the tooth-pulling ad. Watch it. If you dare.