Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Dec

Marlboro to Introduce “Smoke Rite” 6 Cig Health Packs

Smokers rejoice. There is a new, healthier way to smoke, all thanks to the innovators at Altria (formerly known as Philip Morris). Marlboro has just released Smoke Rites, a new line of health conscious products for modern people with active lifestyles.

The concept was borne over two years of intense research at Marlboro laboratories. Head researcher Dr. Dylan Pantzenfahr explains, “Curing lung cancer is one of Marlboro’s top priorities. And while we can’t change the nature of [tobacco], we can change the way people smoke it.” Pantzenfahr is referring to serving size. To date there is no standard serving size for cigarette consumption. “It’s a tricky question,” says Pantzenfahr, “A man with massive lungs may consume a much larger serving of cigarettes than, say, a tiny person.” Nevertheless, in early 2007 Pantzenfahr and his team of specialists made it their one mission to answer the serving size question.

Early tests failed. The group ran into several technical and legal obstacles. Julie Lawson, the team’s resident psychiatrist, palms her face when discussing the initial trials. “It was the wild west. No one had a clue what a serving of cigarettes looked like. We had monkeys smoking cigarettes, men smoking catfood, women using corn cob pipes. Eight cigs, twelve cigs, we had to cut the 200-cigs-per-day experiment short because too many subjects were losing feeling in their limbs.” Julie shakes her head, “We didn’t learn what a serving was, but we learned if you smoke more than 200 cigarettes per day your urine turns black.”

But the smoke team didn’t quit. 420 million dollars and 18 months later Pantzenfahr made a discovery. “The serving size was still eluding us, but we found something amazing in the data.” One of the experiments compared people who smoked as much as they wanted each day with people who only smoked six cigarettes a day. Over 30 people were tested, and the results showed a 14% lower chance of lung cancer in the people who smoked just 6 cigarettes. The message was clear, smoking 6 cigarettes reduces your risk of cancer. Pantzenfahr’s eyes light up when he remembers the day he made the connection, “I double checked the findings, I turned to my research assistant and told her we’d just stumbled upon a way to cure cancer through smoking.”

Marlboro’s CEO, Jeff Skinling, was skeptical. “I didn’t want to throw another half billion dollars into a scientific hunch. I had them run a double blind study. Then a triple blind, then a quadruple blind study before deciding we were blind enough to move forward.”

When Skinling moves forward, he moves fast. Within months Marlboro created the Smoke Rite brand, produced a commercial, designed the packaging, and even built a bio-green-environment-safe production facility. “Now people know they are being healthy and environmentally chic when they smoke,” says Marlboro customer sensitivity chief Nancy McKerberster.

The Smoke Rites are scheduled to hit gas stations and grocery stores within the month. Smokers will now have the option to buy a traditional 20-cigarette pack, or a Smart Carton of Smoke Rites. Each Smart Carton contains 12 small 6-cigarette Smoke Rite packs. Additionally, some regions will have the option to buy Smart Carton Plusses which will include a bonus seventh cigarette in each 6-cigarette pack.

“This is just the beginning,” says Josh Glott, co-vice executive head of development and strategic marketing productivity at Marlboro, “Beyond the commercials and the promo spots on morning shows, our next batch of Smoke Rites will promote even further awareness of smoking health as we plan on including heart, check mark, and jogger silhouette icons on each pack. We’re even planning future Smoke Rites to be sold in a pack shaped like a healthy lung.” Glott holds up a magazine ad and smiles. The ad shows a mom in a sports bra holding a heart-shaped bowl filled with cigarettes.

But not everyone approves of the healthy cigarettes. Grace Null heads a privately funded interest group dedicated to speaking out against the re-packaging. “You think people are really going to smoke just 6 cigarettes a day? No sir, people will end up smoking that entire Smart Carton.” Null cites a study to back up her claim. But Pantzenfahr is quick to reply, “Her claim is true, but only for people who don’t have control over their smoking habits. For people who are in control, the Smoke Rites are the healthiest choice.”

The company’s strategy of product miniaturization is spreading to other health conscious corporations such as Jagermeister. “Alcohol is a powerful disinfectant,” says Jagermeister corporate researchologist Joe Bellows, “Studies show males between the ages of 28 and 55 need extra disinfecting at the end of a work day. Jagermeister Disinfectaboosters are a healthy way to disinfect your liver. And because of their small size, they’re fine to drink before driving home.” Bellows is boastful of his company’s new stance, though he admits Jagermeister is not the first to do so, citing Michelob Ultra’s movement to inform the public of the important role beer plays in exercise and fitness.

Uzi has also joined the bandwagon, taking the first groundbreaking steps toward pistols and sub-machine guns that load “Smartables” two bullet magazines instead of the more dangerous fourteen bullet magazines. A safer gun for safer crimes.

Jeff Skinling doesn’t seem concerned with all the corporate piggybacking. “The smaller pack thing is just the tip of the iceberg in our new campaign for health. Just wait till you wrap your lips around our Vitacigs.” Skinling is referring to an upcoming project that will inject vitamins and minerals into packs of Marlboro Smoke Rites. Each Smoke Rite pack would contain up to 15% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin. “Smoke 7 packs a day, and you’re over 100%!” claims Skinling. Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. Outside of Smoke Rite Vitapacks, niacin can only be found in meat, vegetables, nuts, fruits, dairy products, and grains.

While it may be years before the negative and slanderous term “cancer sticks” fades from American lexicon, Pantzenfahr is hopeful that his research along with the new repackaging and re-labeling will finally sway the public to see Marlboro cigarettes for what they really are: immunity sticks. And as for current public opinion? “I don’t need to be able to pronounce the name of every single ingredient on every label of every product I buy,” says one American consumer, “I just need to know if I am being healthy when I put it in my mouth or when I give it to my children.”

What do you think of Marlboro’s latest escapade? Share your thoughts on corporate spin, food product marketing and “Smoke Rites” in the comment board!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. O_o My sarcasm meter is broken today. Part of me thinks this has to be a satire piece, another (very, very cynical part) is merely shaking its head.

    kam904s wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • Gotta admit to some jealousy. I wish I could write such clever satire. Maybe with some practice…

      TX CHL Instructor wrote on December 4th, 2009
      • Would really like to meet Dr. Pantzenfahr. Wonder if his pants are pulled up all the way to his nipple line.

        by the gods wrote on December 10th, 2009
  2. F#%K ME, THE WORLD IS LOST, i am moving to the forest, killing a deer, wearing it’s skin and throwing my TV in the trash, i just can’t take it anymore!

    JUPITER BOONE wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • Don’t bother — there are already people living where the deer are… we aren’t part of their communities and they’re not going to let us be. (Try driving through Wyoming sometime with California plates; you’ll see what I mean)

      But yeah, DO throw your TV into the trash. That can only help!

      Karen Eliot wrote on December 4th, 2009
      • It’s not that you can’t drive through Wyoming with California plates, son. It’s that y’all drive like you are at NASCAR main event and you are the star. So drive through nice and easy, obey the laws and, above all, keep going until you hit Reno, because the very last thing we need in Wyoming is more Californians.

        Elemental wrote on January 15th, 2010
    • Ditto on Ditching the TV, I did that 2 years ago and so far the only side effect is an extra $50-$90 in my back account. (Thank you HULU and iTunes)

      P wrote on April 4th, 2010
  3. It’s not real. No cigarette company spokesperson would ever say: “We didn’t learn what a serving was, but we learned if you smoke more than 200 cigarettes per day your urine turns black.”

    Which is not to say it wasn’t a good piece of satire. Makes me think of those 100 calorie packs.

    Variance wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • whoa. comment twin on the calorie packs!

      me wrote on December 4th, 2009
  4. “But the smoke team didn’t quit. 420 million dollars and 18 months later Pantzenfahr made a discovery.”

    Seriously? This is such a joke. From a marketing stance, it is smart of them to do this to atleast grab those smokers “on the fence” of quitting.

    I think its important to expand on the point that other corporations are using this idea to label their foods as healthy, and every day I see people grabbing them off of the shelves with a grin on their face thinking they’re being health conscious. It doesn’t help that the Heart and Stroke foundation approves these labels, but thats another story. Consumers need to be more aware of the purchases that they are making.

    Aside from being flooded with cash, I don’t understand how the executives and marketers at Marlboro are able to sleep at night.

    Sam wrote on December 4th, 2009
  5. I couldn’t tell if this was a true article or not…but I always thought for those people that do smoke and are trying to quit, this actually may help them. A lot of smokers out there aren’t pack a day or two pack a day smokers. Some people only smoke a few cigs per day. For those that are trying to quit and have lapse…buying a pack that only contains 6 cigs will get them back on track quicker than a standard 20 cig pack. It is especially hard when the weekend comes around and you’re probably going to smoke, its better to buy just 6 and be done with it than buy 20 and have them leak into the next week. Just my 6 cents.

    Dan wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • I agree with you to a certain point, but I have no sympathy for people that keep falling off of the wagon. If you want to quit bad enough, you’ll do it.

      Sam wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • If you were a smoker, you’d know that “cutting down” is a joke :-/. If you smoke no more than 3 cigs a day and only a few days a week, you can probably avoid addiction indefinitely. But not otherwise.
      People buying packs of 6 will just buy more packs, is all….
      It’s like telling people who smoke crack that if they just keep it to a rock or two a day they’ll be fine — and most people buying crack already buy it in little packs — but they’ll be back to buy more packs that same night.

      Karen Eliot wrote on December 4th, 2009
      • I disagree, I think “cutting down” is a very viable option. I have tried to quit several times in the past (cold turkey) to no avail. Recently I have been cutting down – I started out going 2 hours in mid-morning without a smoke and every few days I take it up a notch (I am currently going 8 hours per day
        without smoking – I have 4 in the morning before 8 AM then I don’t smoke until about 4 or 5PM).
        I think the main problem with “cold turkey” is the fear of *never* having a smoke again. This way, I slowly build up my resistance, and sooner or later, when I get to 24+ hours, I may get to the point where I simply don’t want the
        “next” smoke (but I always know I *can* have it).
        True, quitting completely is the healthier option, but I have already
        noticed improvements in alertness and
        energy.

        Cory Michael McKenna wrote on December 5th, 2009
        • “I think cutting down is a very viable option.” And yet you’re STILL smoking! Dude! It’s got you! The nicotine has got you. It’s got your brain and your way of thinking man. Can’t you see the insanity of your rationalizing? Take it from an EX smoker, the only answer is to quit. There’s no such thing as only smoking a little. What’s so wrong with NEVER having another cigarette? They do NOTHING for you. About 3 months without a smoke, you’ll realize that. You only want one NOW because you’re addicted to the nicotine. Once you break that addiction (through total abstinance NOT ‘cutting back’) you won’t want one anymore.

          fixed gear wrote on December 9th, 2009
  6. This made my day :)
    -“We didn’t learn what a serving was, but we learned if you smoke more than 200 cigarettes per day your urine turns black.”

    Anders wrote on December 4th, 2009
  7. :: Blank stare ::

    I kept waiting for the punchline… and it never came. It looks like something from Weekly World News or other similar tabloid.

    A “healthy serving” of cigarettes is akin to a healthy serving of hemlock.

    Are these people serious…? If so, please just liquify my brain now and get it over with.

    darienx19 wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • Nicotine does have some health benefits, actually. It’s the smoking of chemically polluted tobacco that’s the big health problem, not the nicotine, which boosts levels of acetylcholine and dopamine, both of which have positive effects: people who smoke are less likely to get certain diseases, and nicotine has some unique properties that make it useful in other ways. But we really need to stop consuming it in smoked tobacco.

      Just sayin….

      Karen Eliot wrote on December 4th, 2009
  8. This the way that I feel about Oreo 100 calorie packs.

    me wrote on December 4th, 2009
  9. Are you people honestly that dense? If so, I have a bridge I can offer you for a great price…

    Sean Clancy wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • The exact same logic applies to 100 calorie packs of trans-fat laden Oreo cookies and “heart healthy” packets of Cheerios.

      This is satire, and it’s brilliant satire because it’s so freaking possible.

      Ross wrote on December 7th, 2009
  10. I’m guessing Mark is pulling a fast one on us today. Please say it’s so and I can laugh and sleep better tonite.

    IF this is true, what a load! Smoking only 6 CURES cancer? What about the second hand folks around other smokers?

    I will check back – this can’t be true.

    Jeff P wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • Read the doublespeak again. It never says cures cancer, just you are less likely to develop it.

      Great satire all around.

      Henry Miller wrote on December 4th, 2009
      • Read again. Fourth paragraph quote:
        “I double checked the findings, I turned to my research assistant and told her we’d just stumbled upon a way to cure cancer through smoking.”

        Jeff P wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • That meant that compared to people smoking 20 cigs a day, those who smoke 6 have less cancer. So yes, with a bit of nefarious lying (like the sort used to sell statin drugs) you can say that smoking 6 is “beneficial” in terms of cancer.

      Karen Eliot wrote on December 4th, 2009
  11. I’m bringing some traffic to this site for you, Mark. I wager you get a few hundred comments on this post. Nice job!

    Jeff P wrote on December 4th, 2009
  12. Joke, right?

    Meghan wrote on December 4th, 2009
  13. So eating grains and sugar is like smoking cigarettes? I guess I never thought of grains as quite *that* bad.

    Kristin J wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • Until now, that is.

      Kristin J wrote on December 4th, 2009
  14. Of course it’s a joke. Mark just didn’t spell it out for us with a “gotcha!” line at the end. The proof is in the URL links, folks.

    I mean, the guy’s name is “Pantzenfahr,” for heaven’s sake (say it aloud…)

    chowza wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • Pantzenfahr – I don’t get it and I said it out loud several times…perhaps I need to say it with an American accent…nope…still doesn’t mean anything to me.

      Let me in on the name joke? :)

      Natalie wrote on December 5th, 2009
      • “Pants on fire”. As in, “liar, liar pants on fire!”

        Kent Cowgill wrote on December 5th, 2009
        • And apologies, I missed the “I need to say it with an American accent” part.

          “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” is a childhood taunt, often heard around the playground in American elementary schools, when accusing someone of saying a falsehood.

          Kent Cowgill wrote on December 5th, 2009
      • Try sayin’ it with a Southern accent, y’all. :)

        Shebeeste wrote on December 5th, 2009
  15. Google and Collecta have no mention of this…as ridiculous as it is this has to be a joke.

    Then again, this almost perfectly mirrors the mainstream approach to foodstuffs. 100 calorie packs have already been mentioned, and I can’t help but think of the “healthy ice cream” story Marc posted a few days ago….

    Perhaps this is less of a joke and more of a stab at the conventional approach to health and fitness.

    Point well taken.

    Mark wrote on December 4th, 2009
  16. I think this is mark’s attempt at mark’s daily onion – a spinoff of theonion.com!!!!

    Ryan Denner wrote on December 4th, 2009
  17. Guys, check out the links in the article. This is a take on marketing and advertising in the food industry. He’s demonstrating how ridiculous the “health” food industry is by showing what the same marketing tactics and “scientific” backings would look like if used on cigarettes.

    From the beginning you should be raising your eyebrows. It’s logical that a reduction in lung cancer would follow a reduction in smoking, but this certainly doesn’t mean that smoking *any* amount reduces cancer. Yet, the food industry uses this kind of logic to market all sorts of crap to consumers.

    Quite a clever piece of satire.

    Dave wrote on December 4th, 2009
  18. This got to be a joke :D

    Rob wrote on December 4th, 2009
  19. Looks like a joke, and it seems like a joke, but up to the early 2000’s you could buy a pack of 10 cigarettes in all major brands in France.

    The options were 10, 20, and 25 cigarettes per pack.

    At some point the government banned the 10 pack because they considered it an aid to teenage smoking.
    They weren’t half wrong since when I was a kid a majority of the people I knew who smoked bought 10 packs (easier to hide).

    So even if it is a joke, I wouldn’t b surprised if Philip Morris had considered it…

    NicoB wrote on December 4th, 2009
  20. I still think the world is lost, and i’m still going to kill me a deer and live in the woods, and yes i am still throwing out my TV

    JUPITER BOONE wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • I’m with you.

      But I’d prefer a sailboat, and follow the trade winds as the seasons change.

      NicoB wrote on December 4th, 2009
  21. Is this a joke? I hope so. If you only smoke 6 cigs per day, you reduce your risk of cancer…wow…rocket science!

    Stephanie wrote on December 4th, 2009
  22. Ok, I just re-read it, it’s a joke. ;)

    Stephanie wrote on December 4th, 2009
  23. Case study in Poe’s Law. Had me going for several sentences.

    TX CHL Instructor wrote on December 4th, 2009
  24. this is clearly a joke
    and a clever one

    it is definitely a good analogy to those 100 calorie cookie packs

    Shazkar wrote on December 4th, 2009
  25. Darn, just when I was thinking of ways to integrate cigarette smoking into my busy schedule, I realize it’s satire. I hate it when that happens!

    Seriously though, I was thinking in the back of my mind while reading this about the studies that show that a little bit of radiation can protect you from certain cancers. Why not just a little smoking? :-)

    Scooter wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • (Boy, who funded *those* studies?)

      The best thing you can do when reading about studies showing this or that is Follow the Money. Ever since the FDA let Big Pharma jump the line by funding drug studies normally funded by NIH, we’ve had slews of studies showing that white is black, up is down, etc. etc.

      Karen Eliot wrote on December 4th, 2009
  26. When I got to “Additionally, some regions will have the option to buy Smart Carton Plusses which will include a bonus seventh cigarette in each 6-cigarette pack” I almost pissed myself. Thanks for this, I don’t feel the need to read theonion today. :)

    J Turnage wrote on December 4th, 2009
  27. I had to check the calendar. It’s not April 1 is it?

    jon w wrote on December 4th, 2009
  28. I love it, thanks for the laugh Mark. You just made my day.

    Of course, where anyone can see just how ridiculous the idea of a “healthy serving” of cigarettes is, they can’t see that the same thing applies to crap food. It doesn’t matter how much you relabel it, change the serving size, inject vitamins, crap is still crap and you shouldn’t be eating it.

    Scott wrote on December 4th, 2009
  29. A cigarette researcher named “Pants-on-Fire.”

    Where’s his twin, Lyre Lyre Pants-on-Fire?

    Good spoof, Mark.

    Jim Purdy wrote on December 4th, 2009
  30. I love it.

    Lars wrote on December 4th, 2009
  31. We been duped! Google search for Dylan Pantzenfahr only goes to this post! :) Very funny nonetheless.

    Christopher wrote on December 4th, 2009
  32. What’s interesting to me is that we’ve become so accustomed to corporate marketing BS and crappy statistical shenanigans like Mark made up here that many of us (as evidenced by the board comments) actually think this might be authentic.

    Brian wrote on December 4th, 2009
    • Indeed.

      Man, this post was too much fun.

      Pantzenfahr… ;)

      Mark Sisson wrote on December 4th, 2009
      • I nearly fell for it, but then I noticed my pants were smoking… Nice.

        JorgeGortex wrote on December 9th, 2009
  33. What!!! How can they get away with this?? This is ridiculas. It’s just giving to message to people that it’s ok to smoke.

    “We’re even planning future Smoke Rites to be sold in a pack shaped like a healthy lung.” Glott holds up a magazine ad and smiles. The ad shows a mom in a sports bra holding a heart-shaped bowl filled with cigarettes.

    Paul @ WorkoutBOX wrote on December 4th, 2009
  34. I nearly screamed out in horror in the middle of our student union til I realized it was a joke.
    oi vay.

    Alex wrote on December 4th, 2009
  35. Well not the Onion but a pretty good riff on the 100 calorie “snack pack” mentality (and I liked the dig at Michelob Ultra).

    Dave wrote on December 4th, 2009
  36. Hahaha, good one Mark. I was shaking my head in disbelief until I read the above my comments. A google search for “Dr. Dylan Pantzenfahr” returns just one site :)

    maba wrote on December 4th, 2009
  37. you got me at first! this sounds just like something the cig companies would do!

    Joel M wrote on December 4th, 2009
  38. Mark, this was a funny one. For a minute you had me going. 1/2 billion dollars! Ha! Urine turning black?! 14%?

    Craig wrote on December 4th, 2009
  39. People really. He named the main character Pantzenfahr…PantsOnFire…come on, turn on that light bulb over your collective heads…

    ;-)

    Good one Mark!

    Jesse wrote on December 4th, 2009
  40. Ugh. How many credulous responses? People, please – you owe it to Mark to be at least minimally skeptical and keep him honest.

    Mark: this was brilliant, but I suspect you may need to spell out the comparison here for some people. I thought the line where reducing portion size was mistakenly interpreted as having beneficial effects (rather than merely less harmful effects) was perfect.

    Scott B wrote on December 4th, 2009

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