Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Last of the Smoking Sea Birds

"The fossil record clearly shows that smoking has resulted in mass extinctions in prehistory," noted paleontologist Professor John Clamjam today told a Parliamentary Select Committee on public health. "It is no exaggeration to say that mankind is now facing the same dire threat." The professor is one of a growing number of scientists calling for an outright ban on smoking, claiming that it threatens the ozone layer and is responsible for climate change. "Take those fossilised giant prehistoric penguins recently discovered in Chile - it was their hundred a day habit which caused disastrous climate change in the area back in the Pleistocene period," he claims. "Before they got hooked, it was freezing cold and covered in ice. Within a few millennia, it had turned into a tropical furnace, forcing the surviving, non-smoking - penguins to migrate to Antarctica." Clamjam also points out that modern penguins are significantly shorter than their ancestors as a direct result of cigarette smoking. "Everybody knows that the tar contained in those cigarettes stunts growth," he declares. "Don't forget, they didn't even have low tar filter tips back then - they were taking huge quantities of tar into their lungs, before hawking it all up again in huge coughing fits, thereby creating the prehistoric tar-pits which claimed the lives of so many mastodons."

But the giant penguins weren't the first tobacco-related mass extinction. "Forget all that nonsense about the dinosaurs being wiped out by an asteroid strike," Clamjam told the committee. "They choked to death as the result of them poisoning their atmosphere with stale smoke." Cigarettes were apparently also behind the aggressive behaviour of many of the giant reptiles. "Look at the poor Tyrannosaurus - its arms were too small to reach its mouth, or even hold hold a cigarette," the professor explains. "Their bodies craving nicotine and enraged at their inability to smoke themselves, the great beasts naturally went on homicidal rampages, slaughtering other dinosaurs and trying to tear the lit cigarettes from their dead jaws." He fears that such behavioural changes are currently being seen in human beings, as witnessed by the disturbing increases in youth gang violence: "Clearly these children, too young to buy the cigarettes they became addicted to in the womb as a result of their mothers' smoking habits, are going out and trying to snatch the evil weed from established smokers."

Smoking is already having serious climactic effects, with the hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic directly attributable to the smoking habits of local inhabitants. "Unfortunately, Polar bears, in common with all ursine species, are heavy smokers," observes Clamjam. "However, the worst offenders are the seals. Indeed, their habit is so bad that the Canadian government has been forced to implement an annual cull to try and cut down the amount of smoke they are putting into the atmosphere." Nevertheless, despite the sterling efforts of the brave seal clubbers, a huge pall of dirty smoke still hangs over much of Canada and Alaska. Consequently, Clamjam and other scientists are lobbying for the cull to be extended to include Polar bears. "This may seem drastic, cruel even, but it is essential we take action now, if we are not to go the way of the giant penguins and dinosaurs," he says.

A spokesperson for the government has denied that it is using scare tactics and pseudo-science to try and win support for its controversial smoking ban.

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