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Friday, January 16, 2009

THIRDhand Smoke? Jesus, What Else Can We Regulate?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 1:42 PM

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According to a study appearing in this month's Pediatrics, medical scientists have now identified "thirdhand smoke," which is:

a) What you get when the kid of somebody who smokes talks to your kid;

b) Only possible through a Facebook widget, or;

c) The trace chemicals from smoke that hang around objects like clothes, making them smell "smoky."

The correct answer, of course, is (c). So far.

"Your nose isn't lying," Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, told the New York Times. "The stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: 'Get away.'"

As someone who likes the smell of smoke, does that mean my nose is a liar? Or just suicidal? It must be one of them: An assistant professor of pediatrics, at Harvard no less, has never said anything stupid. Ever.

Never mind though, that's not important. What is important is that suddenly San Francisco's antismoking crusade just got a shot in the arm of adrenaline, plus a snort of coke through its deceitful nose. We were running out of ways to regulate second-hand smoke. But now there's third-hand smoke. Can a wave of new laws be far behind?

Here are my suggestions for what the Supes are going to ban, regulate, or ruin, now that "thirdhand smoke" has been identified. Remember, they're doing it for the children:

• People who smoke outside bars must first change into hospital gowns;

• People who smoke outside hospitals must first leave their organs in a sanitary box;

• Smoking in public parks is only allowed if you clean all the trees afterwards;

• No child is allowed in an apartment where smokers might have once lived;

• Anyone who ever smoked in city hall is to be retroactively beaten;

• People who smoke before voting will not have their votes counted: It's too dangerous for poll workers;

• Children who smoke in school must be given new brains by the district;

• Within city limits, only funeral parlors can sell cigarettes;

• Cigarettes shall all bear a label reading "DEATH!"

• Anyone who sees a cigarette outside is requested to call 311.

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Benjamin Wachs

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