Ever since Sir Winston Marlboro Raleigh brought the first trainload of Virginia Slims back to England in his flying saucer (note to self: nail down historical facts in final draft) the world has been both blessed and cursed with the smoking habit. Cigarettes are more addictive than heroin and sometimes more dangerous than dynamite, unless you put dynamite in your mouth and try to smoke it like a cigarette, in which case dynamite is definitely more dangerous. But how to stop people from smoking? Punitive taxation, corporal punishment and public shaming have all been tried, but up against the marketing savvy of legions of early series Mad Men Don Drapers, the nonsmoking public was powerless. It was time to bring out the heavy artillery - comic books.
Where there's smoke, you can bet there will be two 12 year old kids defying every rule of civilized behavior. SHOES on the BED?
There's danger! Those kids might sit up suddenly, inhale the clouds of whatever weird chemical vapor they used to create this special effect, and asphyxiate!
Looks like the big danger here is from every boy's nemesis, the bratty little tattletale sister.
The glee on Tina's face is offset nicely by the haunted hopelessness of Mom here, doomed to a life of housework and wrangling her annoying children, where her only pleasure is the occasional Salem break. Which she doesn't even enjoy, and never did!
Smoking may be a terrible destructive habit that ruins lives, but on the other hand, look at the joy it brings Tina. Are we going to take that away from her?
America's Dads - long the standard of authority on what "the young people" are getting wise to and what they think is popular. Short haircuts and Guy Lombardo records is what's "in" this year, that's what your good old Dad hears!
Keep in mind the only smoker in this house is Mom, seen here furiously pretending to read her magazine as hubby discusses her stained teeth and bad breath in front of God and everybody.
Hmmm... addicted to... hard habit to break... maybe we've got something here. Let me get that band "Chicago" on the line, this might be good for their 17th album
You don't believe all that stuff about cigarettes, do you? That story about the naked lady on the Camel pack? Grow up, Jack!
Here's Mr. Wright, who is not only a high school coach but an afternoon playground supervisor and who spends his weekends driving gangs of kids to the county fair. Whatever they're paying Mr. Wright, it is not enough.
And NO Ted, your tobacco industry talking point about pollution from car exhaust isn't going to cut any ice here. You're on the track to something interesting, though. Here's a hint: "leaded gasoline."
An exciting day at the County Fair! Rides? Animal exhibits? Prize-winning corn? Deep-fried candy bars? No, no, no and no. We're going to listen to Miss Frances here tell us the real facts about smoking.
Typical schoolchildren, always enjoying the present! Not worrying about the future, like they should be doing! Worry harder, kids!
But if this present trend continues we come up with a very sad picture, which is... the same exact picture, with a new caption underneath it. Way to cheap it out, county fair
"What proof is there?" asks the complete stranger in the audience who's definitely not there to ask leading questions that allow the Cancer Society to show off their hard statistical labor. No sir.
The only conclusion? We've spent a lot of money getting these placards and displays designed and printed, and by golly we're gonna show 'em off!
Let's see. Two packs a day, twenty smokes a pack, that's forty cigarettes, each daily cigarette increases your chances by .5 percent over a period of time this chart isn't interested in making clear.
"Will you have trouble? Well, that depends on you, young man. How good are you with a Zippo? Can you open the cellophane on a crush-proof pack of Kool Menthols with ease? Can you get that match going with just one strike? You might have trouble, and then again you might not."
This chart seems to be presenting 128 as smaller than 95.2 which is confusing. Maybe we can confuse kids into not smoking?
The rich mild taste of hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; sure to satisfy your T-Zone!
Hey, looks like a week's worth of butts thrown outside any given business, usually in a thirty foot ring around the outdoor ash-stand that somehow nobody can seem to reach.
Go on, chug it! CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG
What's that gadget? It's a smoking machine! Or, as most people call him, Tom Waits. (Alternate celebrity reference: "Nick Nolte")
Soon we'll see smoking machines throughout America, smoking the millions of cigs that would otherwise ruin our lungs, while still keeping the cigarette industry and its Washington lobby happy and profitable. Some say we should stop paying agricultural subsidies to the tobacco industry, but those people are simply, as Joe Camel might say, "not cool!"
Once and for all, we need a definite societal consensus that cigarette smoke causes cancer, so we can stop this kind of animal experimentation, and instead let these animals fulfill a better and more wholesome purpose. Which is cosmetics testing.
Why in the world would people continually engage in expensive, self-destructive behavior that involves a highly addictive substance, and is heavily marketed, through some of the most expensive advertising campaigns in the.... oh.
I'm SURE Tina will never smoke. Ten years from now she'll be in her dorm and someone will offer her a hit on a joint and she'll say "Thanks but no thanks, these Quaaludes I'm on are PLENTY."
OK Dad, give those kids some careful instruction on how to play Russian Roulette! What is this, a deleted scene from "Deer Hunter?"
Don't throw away those vintage mid 60s souvenir ash trays, Mom! Hold onto 'em for a few decades so you can sell them at a huge markup to retro hipsters!
And while Dad asks us if smoking is really worth it, let's ask Dad what he's going to do to replace the one thing in Mom's life that gave her a minute's respite from the constant grinding unpaid labor of cooking and cleaning and keeping house. But maybe that's another comic book entirely!
You've got Peggy Fleming, Bart Starr, and Bobby Hull, but you want to lead with Brooks Robinson? That's definitely a take. Well, okay Cancer Society, I guess whatever you did worked. After all, Mister Kitty never smoked and never will!
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