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Very idiotic people 

Remember how cool James Dean looked when he smoked? Man, he was cool. Of course, back then the tobacco industry had everyone fooled with advertisements making spurious claims: “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette”; “Guard against throat-scratch … smoke Pall Mall, the cigarette whose mildness you can measure”; “20,679 physicians say, ‘Luckies are less irritating’”; “Give your throat a vacation … smoke a fresh cigarette”; “As your dentist, I would recommend Viceroys”; “‘My cigarette is the mild cigarette … that’s why Chesterfield is my favorite.’ —Ronald Reagan, starring in The Voice of the Turtle.”

Yes, back in the Gipper’s and Dean’s day, 57 percent of men and 28 percent of women smoked because Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, and just about every other Hollywood badass smoked like a Pittsburg chemical plant and looked freaking cool doing it, but now we know better. Smoking kills. By 2013, the U.S. smoking rate had fallen to 17.8 percent of the population. In 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate hit a new low of a little more than 15 percent.

Of course, that means one out of seven Americans is still a dumbass smoker like the jerk I saw flicking his butt out his car window yesterday. The world is not your ashtray, dickwad! 

Meanwhile, a poll last year of 5,679 U.S. adults found that approximately 10 percent of them vaped, including 15 percent of respondents under the age of 40. Two years earlier, the vaping rate was a mere 2.6 percent, so it’s clearly expanding like the “Cloud Competition” to blow the biggest vape cloud held last October at Pismo Beach’s VIP Vapor Shop and Lounge. Sounds like a pissing competition at a beer-drinking contest. Meta-dumbassery!

Just in case you’re out of the loop, vaping is a new way to get your nicotine fix. Electronic cigarettes are pen-like devices that use a battery-powered heating element to vaporize an “e-liquid” (or “juice”), turning it into an aerosol that’s inhaled. Just what’s in these “e-liquids,” you ask? Usually propylene glycol—the key ingredient in the antifreeze in your car—glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings—making vaping a new favorite among children. Mmm! Gummy-bear flavored death! I’m going to try blueberry pancake next!

Vaping proponents like to claim it’s a good way to wean smokers off of cigarettes, but evidence suggests that non-smokers who start vaping often transition to cigarettes, and about 75 percent of those who vape also smoke. Is vaping safer than smoking tobacco? The jury’s still out on that one, and the multi-billion dollar vaping industry is largely unregulated. Many cities’ anti-smoking regulations don’t even apply to vaping, though SLO added vaping regulations early on. Go SLO!

Even so, it’s still like the Wild West out there. “Love your lungs,” says one vaping ad. “Find out how Megan can smoke anywhere,” enthuses another. “More doctors vape than use traditional cigarettes.” “Uncle Sam wants you to vape.” “Take back your freedom.” Or my favorite: “Dear smoking ban,” over a photo of an old woman flipping the bird. Sound familiar? The vaping industry is running its propaganda machine at full throttle, and Big Tobacco is sitting back and laughing its ass off because it’s attracting new young cigarette smokers better than a cartoon Joe Camel.

And now to add a new twist to the dangers of vaping, may I introduce Mr. Darin Dyroff, who’s suing the aforementioned VIP Vapor Lounge as well as Kennedy Enterprises, the company that made the e-cigarette that exploded in Dyroff’s face last Dec. 20 when he was smoking like a VIP at VIP Vapor Lounge.

“The explosion resulted in second- and third-degree burns to his right hand and face as well as a flash-burn to his right eye, which left his cornea inflamed and extremely sensitive,” reads his lawsuit, adding, “Darin is physically and emotionally scarred from the explosion.”

Yikes! Maybe the CIA should send one of these Kennedy Enterprises e-cigs to Fidel Castro instead of that exploding cigar it tried in Operation Mongoose.

I guess the real question is: When will government regulatory agencies wise up and decide to do something about the vaping industry? Do we really want children to be tricked into thinking vaping is cool, that the cherry flavor is yummy, and that it’s safe because, you know, it’s not like smoking cigarettes, right? Enjoy atomizing your antifreeze children! Here’s a loaded gun, too! There’s unsecured poison under the kitchen sink and a straight razor in the bathroom in case you get bored!

News flash, e-cigarette users! Yes, James Dean looked cool smoking, but you’re not James Dean. Not even James Dean is James Dean. These days, when you smoke, you look like a loser, and losers aren’t cool. And worse, when you vape, you look like a loser giving a blowjob to a cyborg’s detachable penis, and if Darin Dyroff knows anything, it’s that cyborgs do not warn you before they go off.

The Shredder only smokes when you stuff it with too much paper at once. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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