We’re willing to forgive Fred and Barney for their ignorance of the dangers of smoking because, well, they lived more than two million years ago. Social attitudes were very different back then, and of course scientific research into the effects of cigarette smoke was severely limited by the ineffectiveness of woodpecker-powered x-ray machines.
|Disclaimer: No wisecracking prehistoric birdlife was harmed |
in the creation of this illustration.
It’s hard to believe, however, that barely fifty years ago the American public was willing to watch their kids’ beloved cartoon friends shill for cigarette companies with, as far as we can tell, nary a word of protest. Apparently, 1,200 years’ worth of lung cancer isn’t necessarily a compelling argument for a connection between smoking and death.1
A common argument is that at the time, the American public simply wasn’t aware that smoking was deadly, or even just sorta dangerous. Also common is the belief, backed by a veritable mountain range of evidence, that tobacco companies knew about the dangers of smoking and fought tooth and nail to keep the public from learning about it, a cynical act of callous deception on an almost unimaginable scale.2
With that in mind, we have to wonder what elements of 2012 Americans’ daily life will turn out to be horrifically bad for their health, revealed far too late to spare them from gruesome and painful side effects?
|Meat is bad for your cholesterol.|
|Yep. It’ll cause skin cancer. Bank on it.|
|It won’t be the radiation bombarding your brain from an inch away that kills you,|
but rather your toxic levels of pompous self-importance.
|This one’s probably a longshot, |
but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
|Puppies: nature’s perfect killers.|
|Don’t even pretend you’re surprised.|
1. Cigarette smoking, according to Wikipedia, “have been attested in Central America around the 9th century in the form of reeds and smoking tubes.”
2. We haven’t actually seen these mountains of evidence for ourselves, but we can seek them out using a secret map in our possession, drawn by the Marlboro Man just days before he shit out both his lungs and died.