What’s next? A thong that detects flatulence?

Craig Hall, Publisher
Craig Hall, Publisher

Seriously, we’re $16 TRILLION in debt and running up an extra $1.5 TRILLION in debt every year and this is something we need, underwear that detects cigarette smoke? As Dave Barry, one of my favorite columnists of all time, would say, “I am not making this up.”

According to CNS News, the National Institute of Health has awarded more than $400,000 to a research project for underwear that will detect cigarette smoke to help the government study when people smoke. The project has created a prototype that looks more like a life jacket with lie detector bands around it to measure a smoker’s breathing along with a bracelet that monitors a smoker’s hand to mouth motion. Let’s forget for a moment the fact  people breathe all the time as a prerequisite for being alive and that eating with a hand-to-mouth action greatly assists as well. Here’s a thought for our federal government: If you’re wearing the idiotic, life preserver looking vest or the bracelet with the skull and crossbones on it, you smoke.

You see, the problem with cigarette smoking research is that much of the information comes from so-called “self-reporting,” which apparently after God knows how many years is no longer sufficient. I would think with all of the taxes levied on cigarettes by the states and feds over the years, every cigarette smoker would literally be able to recite back to researchers a puff by puff description of every

over-taxed penny worth of tobacco smoke they’ve inhaled. According to Dr. Edward Sazonov (really, no suspicion on that last name regarding political leanings) the goal of the study is to “to monitor cigarette smoking without asking people when and how much they smoke.” Come again?

All of that smoke screen aside, I have one question: Why are people’s smoking habits the business of the federal government? To smoke or not to smoke are freedom-based choices to which every American has a right and shouldn’t be “monitored” in any way, shape or form.

I’ll tell you why this study is being enacted. According to the National Institutes of Health, it’s to assist in designing strategies for smoking cessation. Apparently smoking is bad for you. Wow, I would have thought if the federal government had that kind of information available, it would have gotten it out to the public already. But instead, we need to wait for smoke detecting unmentionables to be fully implemented for the next Victoria’s Secret runway show, because then we know folks are really paying attention!

Just to help the government out, allow me to suggest some ways to get this urgent info to the masses. I would put a label on every pack of cigarettes sold to warn people of the dangers inherent in smoking. I would team with the American Cancer Society to get the word out, because I heard somewhere smoking causes cancer. I would run commercials and PR through the Ad Council to spread the word while banning  commercials for cigarettes on television and take this even further and not allow animal mascots or sponsorships of events to the evil tobacco companies. Heck, we could even waste more taxpayer dollars by having congressional hearings as to the dangers of smoking and then use the states’ attorneys general to sue the pants off of the tobacco companies, hurting the poor folks who smoke even more than our incessant sin taxes do. I’m sorry. What? We have already tried those things and people still smoke? Well then no wonder we now must have the money wasting panties for puffers program.

I guess I must now admit I’m happy to know the initial results have been successful so our personal tax dollars aren’t going to waste on people’s personal, private parts. According to the evil doctor, the initial tests were successful where people were brought into a lab and fitted with the sensors, which tracked normal activities such as eating and physical activity. The goal was to see if the monitor would also detect cigarette smoking, differentiating it immediately from other activities. Huh. Well, he said so, so we’ll take him at his word. The study also had folks wear the vests for a full day, but those results are being analyzed. (Word is that non-smokers also yelled “smoker, smoker panty poker” to the folks in the vests, but that is as yet unconfirmed).

When Dr. Sansopuff was asked if he’d be applying for more grants, he replied “of course” After all, he’s giving the government the results it desires and that’s how business is done with the feds nowadays. And the feds want to be able to detect smoking in real time. How else can they control your behavior even more than they do now? Now if Dr. H. R. Puffin-Stuff could only link smoking to global warming, he’d really hit the funding jackpot. Because unless Washington (OK, Atlanta) is spending money on a problem, it can’t be made worse to be solved even more.

As for me, I’m just hoping a new study isn’t commissioned for flatulence. For self-reporting purposes, let me be the first to say: A LOT.