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Marvel At The FDA's Idiocy

In one mighty bound, America’s tobacco controllers have managed to produce something awe-inspiringly bad – like, totally worse than 2015’2 The Fantastic Four

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America’s tobacco controllers have long demonstrated their separation from the things they say they care about and the things they actually do. Nothing highlights this more than claims they care about the health of teens – but they continually market a risky lifestyle directly at them. The Food and Drug Administration’s “The Real Cost” initiative has teamed up with Marvel to produce a comic.


Everybody of a certain age remembers seeing Nick O’Teen cartoon characters being beaten up by DC Comic’s Superman – and everyone reading this will remember how it did absolutely nothing to dissuade them from a lifetime of smoking until they escaped thanks to vaping.


The Food and Drug Administration(1) launched its “The Real Cost” campaign has been pushing a diatribe of lies and misinformation about vaping and tobacco harm reduction for years.

In 2019, it used 25-yr old YouTube prankster magician Julius Dein to spread a complete lie: “if you vape, you’re more likely to start smoking cigarettes. It’s not magic - it’s statistics.”(2)


The FDA has teamed up with the mighty Marvel empire to produce a 16-page comic called “The Mind Control Menace.” The gist follows a plotline weaker than the one found in the recent Inhumans television series – hero versus villain where the evil nicotine is a drug that reduces a school student into a complete idiot.

It exists as a digital comic(3), features as part of the Real Cost website(4), and is an animated comic on YouTube (embedded below):



The FCB agency in New York produced the FDA’s first phase of the campaign in 2018. Its executive vice president Gary Resch commented: “For most teens, high school is a time to enjoy more independence and self-reliance. With our partners at Marvel, we’re framing addiction as an entity that subverts that freedom — which, for a 16-year-old, makes for a perfect villain.”


Resch’s comments sum up the pitiful state of tobacco control. These people are ridiculously out of step with the science and out of touch with teens.

You people are no different to adults in that they value being told the truth – not being patronised and fed a diet of lies. The second they twig that this risible campaign is delivering misinformation they lose any respect for the messenger.

FDA: it’s time for you to act like actual heroes and start telling the truth for a change.


  1. The Real Cost campaign -
  2. FDA Is Not Magic -
  3. Mind Control Menace digital comic -
  4. The Real Cost Mind Control Menace website -
Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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