PHILADELPHIA, PA – The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) craze has swept the nation, with modest beginnings several years ago leading to annual sales now surpassing $1 billion. Initially heralded as a clean alternative to smoking tobacco, a boon to harm reduction efforts, and even a route to quitting smoking altogether, the backlash has now become clear.
The World Health Organization has warned that most e-cigarettes “contain large concentrations of propylene glycol, which is a known irritant” and “the efficacy of [e-cigarettes] for helping people quit smoking has not been scientifically demonstrated.”
More recently, ad campaigns by Jenny McCarthy targeted towards children have also led to an increase in “teen vaping,” particularly with delicious flavors such as strawberry, watermelon, and bubblegum. Social and parent advocate groups are outraged by the trend.
McCarthy sure isn’t making things easy to reverse with her recent pro e-cigarette ads. “McCarthy could be the most dangerous public role model since Dennis Rodman,” spokesman for the group Healthy Kids, William Bahara stated. “Her anti-vaccine and pro e-cigarette campaigns are destroying our youth.”
Dr. Jeff Smitherson, public relations director of the ACM, granted us an interview to explain the controversial new guidelines released this week, which recommend that physicians prescribe natural cigarettes in an effort to stymie the e-cigarette epidemic.
“We need to get America off this toxic chemical inhalant that is dangerous to their health, and substitute it with a more natural alternative. There are known knowns and there are known unknowns. And natural cigarettes are a known known,” said Dr. Smitherson, while slowly taking in a smooth puff of a Marlboro Menthol Light. “You know?”
Clearly relaxed, Dr. Smitherson went on to explain that the “good ol’ fashioned” tobacco plant is one of the most studied organisms on the planet. “We’ve sequenced the genome of Nicotiana tabacum for Chrissakes! If it’s natural it cannot be bad. In fact the more organic you can make your life, the better,” a long time user of natural cigarettes told GomerBlog outside of a Whole Foods.
Big tobacco is now changing their packages to include words like “natural” or “organic” and showing pictures of plants. Preliminary reports from around the nation indicate an uptick in number of doctors smoking natural cigarettes in the office, in the clinic while auscultating patients, and even in the operating room. “There’s this access hallway behind the ORs, where me and some of the guys used to light up between cases,” said veteran surgeon Dr. Earl Starz, in an interview conducted behind OR 5. “Surgeons have been smoking back here since the 1960s. But there were a lot of complaints, so last year we started to just vape instead. Now, with these new ACM guidelines, I won’t feel bad about looking cool and sexy again.”
“It’s evidence-based medicine,” he added, taking the last puff of his cigarette and flicking it away. He then shrugged, put his surgical mask back on, and returned to the OR to finish the scheduled operation: resection of right upper lobe lung mass.