The New Yorker ran an excellent article last week about Mad magazine’s big anti-smoking push during the ‘60s, which resulted not only in tons of hilarious tobacco ad parodies but some fake smoker-friendly inventions that, had the industry paid any attention to the small ad-free satirical magazine, could’ve potentially kick-started the e-cigarette boom decades earlier. From the article:
But the truly prescient invention was the “smoke simulator”: a cork-tipped Pyrex tube containing small amounts of water, which, like the metal rod, would be inserted into a cigarette. Once the cigarette was lit, the cork at one end of the tube (edible, of course) popped out, and the water inside became steam. When inhaled, the steam would feel just like smoke. Had the tobacco companies picked up that issue of Mad instead of ignoring it or seething over it, they might have saved the billions they are spending to snap up vaporizer manufacturers now that e-cigarettes are all the rage. That would give new meaning to the line on the corner of every Mad cover: “Our Price 25c Cheap.”
The full article – which covers Mad’s satirizing of both tobacco companies and the Madison Avenue execs responsible for their misleading ads – is well worth the read and over at The New Yorker’s website.