Smoking is the new jogging.

Smoking has joined jogging as a legitimate form of exercise during the COVID-19 lockdowns because it requires smokers to remove their face masks in public places. According to strict lockdown rules, masks must be worn outside at all times unless a person is exercising, or for religious reasons.

“Smokers are smoking in public places all over the world during the pandemic,” stated the World Health Organisation (WHO), which awarded smoking its new status.

“They are removing their face masks in order to do so, and they are doing it so often, in every part of the world living through lockdown, that we had no choice but to declare cigarette smoking a form of exercise.

Had we not declared smoking a form of exercise, local authorities throughout the world would be forced to prevent people from smoking outdoors, and they appear extremely reluctant to do that.”

In many parts of the world, people are also allowed outside without a mask for religious reasons. While smoking is not a form of worship, it is one of the few vices allowed in devoutly religious societies, even those living under Sharia law.

Big Tobacco is delighted at the announcement.

“Now we don’t have to spend millions of dollars to lobby governments or to convince people that cigarette smoking is not potentially deadly to smokers, bystanders and the planet. If smoking is a form of exercise, it must be healthy. The WHO just saved us a fortune.”

Social commentators have long questioned the tolerance of smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic. They argue that cigarette smoking not only pollutes the air, but weakens the immune systems of smokers and passive smokers. If more people have weak immune systems, they claim, more people will be susceptible to COVID-19 and similar diseases.

This means people throughout the world could be in lockdown for even longer.

Image: Julia Engel

Dog ownership linked to childhood obesity.

A breakthrough study has discovered a link between growing rates of childhood obesity and the increasing numbers of pet dogs in Australia.

Experts behind the study revealed their findings in a comprehensive report which proves unequivocally that hordes of dogs in public spaces are preventing children from exercising outdoors.

“Dogs have taken over this country,” the research group explained.

“They have pushed children out of public recreation areas. This has led to an increase in childhood obesity.”

Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2017-18 indicated that 25% of Australian children aged 2-17 were overweight, and 8.2% were obese. In addition, young people aged 5–14 and 15–24 in 2017–18 were more likely to be overweight or obese than people of the same age in 1995.

Meanwhile, about 40% of Australian households own a pet dog, and there are about 5.1 million pet dogs in the country. The quantity and behaviour of dogs was the primary cause of childhood obesity in Australia according to the experts.

“Dog owners and local councils have let dogs dominate every inch of public space in this country, areas which would previously have been full of children engaging in healthy physical activity on a daily basis.”

“Parks, playgrounds, sports fields and beaches are full of dogs, even though the majority of these spaces are technically off limits. So prevalent are dogs that locals in Perth and Sydney recently requested separate dog parks for large and small dogs.

The study also discovered that most councils refuse to remove dogs from off limit areas, and as a result, children simply do not want to play outside.”

Interviews with young people uncovered specific deterrents to outdoor exercise.

“Kids won’t kick a footy around anymore, because a dog is bound to chase after the ball and likely puncture it with their teeth. Similarly, a dog will pick up a tennis ball and cover it in slobber. No one wants to bowl a ball covered in dog slobber, especially in the era of COVID-19. Then there’s the dog droppings owners refuse to pick up.

Also, younger children and their parents reported being harassed or even attacked by big dogs at the park, making them fearful of venturing out to play. Instead, children stay inside and play computer games or destroy their self-esteem on social media.”

Countless studies on children’s health and wellbeing in recent years have demonstrated a preference for indoor play among modern Australian children, and experts fear the COVID pandemic will only compound the problem.

“More children have become accustomed to entertaining themselves inside, and this is a very hard habit to break. Concurrently, more Australians have acquired a pet dog during the pandemic.”

The findings of the survey are likely to surprise many Australians, as they did the survey authors.

“We thought overweight and obesity were caused primarily by addiction to electronic devices and an obsession with social media and online gaming, and while those factors are significant, the overabundance of pet dogs in parks and sports grounds was found to be the leading cause.”

The findings refuted the notion that dog ownership promotes general health and wellbeing.

“Perhaps for the owners, but not for the rest of society,” say experts, who then issued a stark warning.

“This is a public health crisis. Overweight and obese youth will suffer physically, mentally and emotionally throughout life and place a great burden on the public health system.”

What’s the solution?

“Simple. Remove dogs from parks, beaches, playground and sports fields, and let the children play.”

Image: http://www.pledgeforpaws.wordpress.com

Why are dogs allowed in cafes?

Dogs are as common in Australian cafes these days as smashed avocado and freshly-ground coffee. But should they be?

Diners adhering to the latest social trend pile into cafes with their four-legged friends and potentially threaten the health of cafe staff and other diners.

Surely, pet dogs present a threat to hygiene standards, particularly in an age of heightened awareness since the outbreak of COVID-19. While humans are now required to check in via an app, and to sanitise their hands, dogs are not. Dogs don’t sanitise their paws before their owners take brunch, and a lot of these dogs have come straight from the park or the beach where they have been rolling around in the grass, the mud or the sand.

Dogs have a seat at the table.

Many owners even set their dog on a cafe chair to eat and drink with them. The dog’s posterior, which may have recently ejected a dropping and has never seen a bidet, is thus placed on a seat which a future patron will occupy. Cafes wipe down tables, and clean cutlery and crockery, but I don’t remember seeing waitstaff wiping down a seat at a cafe.

How is this hygienic?

How is it allowed during COVID-19?

Pet dogs definitely present a threat to health and hygiene in areas of food preparation and consumption. For this reason, they are technically prohibited from public food preparation areas, such as communal barbecue areas at parks and beaches.

But my dog is clean

Owners will claim that their dog is clean. It gets washed, goes to the vet and is healthy.

How do we know that?

Cafe staff and other customers have to take the owner’s word for it. Every other person using that cafe has to trust that every dog is clean and not likely to threaten the hygiene and safety of the eatery.

We do it at home

Dog owners will argue that they let their dogs into their kitchens and dining rooms at home, and that they let their dogs eat from their floor or their dinner plates, or straight from their hands. They argue that it is no different to a dog eating at a cafe.

It is different.

Owners accept the risk of contamination when they obtain a pet. Owners know exactly where the dog has been before it enters the kitchen or the dining room. Owners know when the dog was last washed. Owners can also control their dog and stop it from doing soemthing that might threaten someone else’s health or safety. Strangers can’t. Dogs won’t automatically obey directions of a stranger, and dog owners often react with horror when someone else tries to control their precious pooch.

Maybe the current pandemic is an opportunity to remind people that dogs don’t belong in cafes.

Image: 2PhotoPots

Tobacco companies to pay for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

The tobacco industry will cover the cost of the COIVD-19 vaccine roll-out across the world due to the link between cigarette smoking and damage to human health. Wealthy cigarette manufacturers have until June 30, 2021, to pay the United Nations (UN) a levy, the exact amount of which will be set once the total cost of the vaccine roll-out is known.

“Cigarette smoking ruins human health,” began a statement from the UN and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“People with poor health have weak immune systems, and viruses survive in bodies with weak immune systems. If there are more unhealthy people on the planet, viruses such as COVID-19 are more difficult to prevent, control and eliminate. For that reason, the tobacco industry will pay for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, which will help protect the health of all citizens.”

The tobacco industry has reacted strongly to the shock announcement.

“This is an unprecedented and unacceptable imposition on what is a legal industry. Never before has one industry been forced to bear the cost of an international crisis, and the tobacco industry will fight this levy through the proper channels.”

The UN and the WHO, meanwhile, reminded the tobacco industry that cigarette smoking damages the health of smokers, non-smokers and the planet, and that the ongoing pandemic has reminded everyone of the importance of protecting the health and wellbeing of the world’s population.

The tobacco lobby also argued that other industries should also be forced to pay the levy.

“The justification for imposing the levy on the tobacco industry is that our products damage human health. If that is true, then fast food outlets such as McDonalds, KFC and Jollibee should also pay the levy, because consumption of their products leads to poor health outcomes.”

The UN explained that the fast food industry may also be charged the levy once the total cost of the international vaccine roll-out has been determined.

Governments throughout the world have declined to comment publicly on the decision. While they are expected to be pleased that someone else is covering the cost of vaccinating their citizens, they are wary of making any statement that might upset the powerful tobacco lobby.

COVID-19 vaccination has already begun in some countries, and the program will continue across the globe for the remainder of 2021.

Image: Julia Engel

Australians to be denied lifesaving surgery.

The Australian government has angered the nation after announcing a new policy that will prohibit lifesaving surgery for seriously ill patients.

Australians will be forced to tolerate any illness or disease which threatens their future health or even their lives, and will be prohibited from receiving treatment for illnesses such as cancer.

“There is a prevailing belief that a disease, illness or affliction which harms or kills the host body must be removed or eliminated,” announced federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

“This leads to doctors and surgeons removing or eliminating illnesses such as cancer from people’s bodies, so that the patient can survive. It is also the reason for the global effort to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.”

Hunt argued that if this principle was applied to other contexts in day to day life, it would create major implications for the nation. To prove his argument, Hunt cited Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp which are regarded as a cancer on democracy in The US, The UK and Australia.

“Does that mean we have to remove Rupert and NewsCorp from Australia, before it kills the country?”

“That would require actions such as a royal commission into media ownership or some form of regulation of the content produced by NewsCorp on a daily basis,” Hunt explained.

“Without Rupert’s propaganda, there is no way my party will win the next election.”

Hunt then referred to Brumbies in the Australian bush.

“Feral horses, known affectionately as ‘Brumbies’, destroy the ecology of our wilderness, including in our national parks. Some people seem to think that if something is so obviously destructive, it should be eliminated.”

“But these invasive animals are ‘heritage horses’. Aussies hold them up as symbols of our great nation, and people are forgetting that misguided, inaccurate and outdated notions of Australian identity are a cornerstone of our culture.”

Hunt then explained that the flawed thinking of removing that which threatens its host would necessitate much greater regulations on cats, because they are the single most destructive introduced species in Australia, as well as a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“Finally, we would also have to remove from Australia elements such as Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer. They do so much damage to our national institutions, but they proved enormously useful to the Liberal National Coalition in recent years.”

Images: http://www.worldatlas.com, http://www.redlandcitybulletin.com.au

Tony Abbott: ‘Let Drug Addicts Die.’

Former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott has demanded that all drug addicts in Australia be refused medical treatment or rehabilitation and be left to die.

Abbott made the comments after also calling for an end to COVID-19 restrictions, which would likely result in the deaths of many elderly Australians but would open up the economy.

“Nobody is forced to take drugs,” Abbott announced from London, where he is set to advise the UK government on matters of trade.

“Anyone who is proven to have taken illicit drugs, or even taken an excessive amount of prescription medication, should be left to die. We should stop offering medical treatment and rehabilitation services to these people because they are damaging Australia.”

Abbott then explained why he had taken this stance, even after attracting a lot of criticism for his comments regarding elderly Australians.

“People take drugs by choice and they put themselves in a position to die or fall seriously ill, and it is their fault if they die. Admittedly, some people may turn to drugs after experiencing significant trauma, such as fighting in wars which politicians instigate, but you can’t tell me those young kids popping pills at music festivals are suffering trauma.”

“Illicit drug use and the drug trade cause enormous damage to Australian society. Taxpayers fund rehabilitation, training and housing services for addicts, so letting them die would boost the nation’s economy. Drug use tears families apart and takes food off the table. What’s more, we know drug addicts can often be found in prison and on the unemployment lines.”

Critics of Abbott’s proposal pointed out that letting drug addicts die would leave some children without parents, to which he replied,

“Addicts are rarely good parents.”

The former national leader also claimed that refusing to provide medical treatment to drug addicts would free up ambulances and hospital beds for other people in need of these services, including the victims of drug-related crimes or accidents.

“Refusing to treat drug addicts at medical facilities should reduce our overall health budget and allow us to spend money in other areas.”

“As a nation, we devote so much time, money and effort to rehabilitation services, but we know that most addicts don’t quit taking drugs.”

Abbott would not be drawn on whether he supports the decriminalisation of illicit drugs. Proponents argue that this would reduce the crime associated with drug dealing turf wars. Drugs would be decriminalised but rehabilitation services would be scrapped entirely, and the money currently spent on rehab would be redirected to extra police in order to combat the subsequent rise in crime from drug addicts desperate to fund their next hit.

It is not clear whether Abbott suggested the move in order to help reduce the world’s populations, as overpopulation is the biggest problem currently facing the planet. As a conservative politician and staunch capitalist, Abbott would generally favour a large population which contributes to continued economic growth.

The Australian government has so far distanced itself from Abbott’s comments, and this latest controversy may explain why he was sent to England.

Image: Mark Nolan, Getty Images

The Australian government will help pay for your next bicycle.

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The Australian government will contribute to the cost of a ‘Therapy Bike’ for Australian citizens in a push to improve the health of the nation.

The government announced the ‘Therapy Bike’ scheme during its campaign for the federal election, to be held on May 18, and boasted of the anticipated benefits of the new policy.

“The Therapy Bike policy is a major breakthrough for Australia,” boasted a government spokesperson.

“This exciting new initiative will allow every Australian to receive funding to help them purchase a bicycle, because bicycles have been proven to improve people’s physical, mental and emotional health.”

The scheme allows Australian citizens, of any age, to apply for a percentage of the total cost of a bicycle. Applications can be submitted for road bikes, mountain bikes, children’s or adult bikes – in fact any form of bicycle- and citizens will receive the funds once their application has been approved.

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The beaming spokesperson then outlined the motivation for the scheme in greater detail.

“There are so many reasons that we are proud to announce the Therapy Bike policy.”

“Regular use of a bicycle is known to increase outdoor exercise, improve one’s physical health, decrease peoples’ reliance on medication, reduce anxiety and stress, decrease levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure, increase enthusiasm and emotional well being, delay the ageing process and reduce the risk factors of heart disease, which is still Australia’s #1 killer.”

“Of course, this is on top if the other benefits of cycling, such as improved air quality and less pollution, less congestion and traffic, less road building and destruction of the natural environment and quieter, more peaceful urban spaces.”

The majority of Australians welcomed the scheme on social media, but some reminded the government that the initiative will only succeed if a network of bicycle paths is built throughout the country, to allow people to ride safely, especially those who ride to work.

Other respondents also suggested making public transport more user friendly for cyclists, by adopting bike-friendly practices already in use in places such as the Netherlands, Canada and Taiwan.

Australians, meanwhile, were encouraged to start searching for a new bike and wait for the applications to be available following the federal election.