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Vaping Hits ‘The Simpsons’

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                                                                        (Courtesy of The Simpsons)

On the May 3, 2015 episode of “The Simpsons,” Bart and the gang take on the rather controversial issue of vaping. This Fox cartoon show has always had a good time poking fun at current events, but to many vapers, this episode hit a little too close to home. Is the show’s creator and producer, Matt Greonling, actually advocating the sale and use of vaping devices to children? Or is he attempting to fill the airwaves with more negative propaganda about the mythical health risks of using electronic cigarettes?

The episode is entitled, “Let’s Go Fly a Coot.” And Bart isn’t the only one seem puffing away on a vape pen. At one point, even Baby Maggie is seen blowing smoke rings across the room. But the storyline begins when Bart develops a crush on Millhouse’s cousin, Annika, who then peer-pressures our cartoon hero into vaping. She says, “Bart, don’t you want to smoke like the cool kids?” That’s all it takes. Bart is off to the races.

He ends up buying some e-cigs from Apu, who first offers a warning to our infinitely prepubescent TV star before landing a funny one-liner, "It will leave you breathing through a hole in your neck. It's not kid’s stuff. Now do you want bubblegum or tropical melon flavor?" Bart eventually, although temporarily, becomes addicted to vaping because he is trying to impress the young lady. But in the end, he sees the error of his ways.

At the second half of the episode, Bart’s Grandpa ventures into the world of vaping, too. For reasons that we won’t go into here, Grandpa takes a nice steak, purees it, boils it, and smokes it with an e-cig-like device. He exhales a massive cloud of steak vapor, perhaps metaphorically demonstrating the clouds of BS that we vapers are forced to read about every day regarding the fictional “health risks of vaping.”

While true vaping enthusiasts would never condone selling e-cigs to minors, not even in cartoon form, it’s rather amusing to point out that this is Episode 20 of Season 26 of The Simpsons. That makes Bart somewhere around the age of 35 years old, a perfectly acceptable age to begin vaping.

The reaction on vaping forums across the Internet is mixed. Some people simply think the whole thing is simply a bunch of malarkey. “Who cares? It’s The Simpsons, for Pete’s Sake. Lighten up!” was one response. Others view Bart’s vaping experiment as more fodder for the Anti-Vaping Activists. I fall somewhere in the middle. If some misinformed politician wants to use a Bart Simpson quote to make his point, I say “Let him.” Using The Simpsons for political gain rarely works to anyone’s advantage.

By Matt Rowland

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