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Looking at business opportunities in the stop-smoking industry

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[April 02, 2009]  Yeah, Iím not even one day into the nicotine-free world and already thinking of how I can turn my misery into moola. There are hundreds of products and books and gizmos on the market that are stop-smoking aids, but I donít think most of them work very well. If they did, by now the field of potential clients would have dried up, wouldnít it?

HardwareI know I will make my first chunk of money with my stop-smoking handbook. I think I will title it "How to quit smoking in 40 years or less." It wonít be too big a book, so maybe I will only charge $10. In the world of stop-smoking paraphernalia, nothing is anywhere near that cheap, so it might sell.

I also plan to figure out how to inject nicotine into various foods that no one has thought of yet. Yes, there is nicotine gum, but there could be so much more. There could be nicotine lollipops, nicotine-flavored beer -- Iíll bet that will be a winner -- also steak, eggs, chicken, all with a nice dose of nicotine.

I will figure out how to freeze-dry nicotine so a person can put it on their foods. I can just see restaurants with salt, pepper and nicotine shakers on all the tables. Iím sure, eventually, I can come up with a nicotine cookbook after people start trying my foods in various measures and ways.

I can see me holding seminars on how I quit. It might be several sessions long, as I will have to explain the 40-year process. I could come out with an abridged version, I imagine. I could title it "The 40 steps to quitting cigarettes." It would be -- Step one, year one: smoke. Step two, year two: smoke. Step three, year three: smoke, etc.; until I get to Step 40, year 40: quit.

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I figure I might have to throw some comedy into that speech or it might get a little boring.

There are companies that make wooden fake cigarettes, and I can see how they can help with the hand-to-mouth habit of a smoker. The problem is, they are way overpriced. So I will start my own factory. All I need is a bunch of three-eighths-inch dowel rods and a saw to cut them into four-inch-long lengths. Then I spray paint them white and I can sell them for a buck apiece.

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Now the companies that charge as much as $19.95 for these wooden cigs claim that they use a safe, nontoxic paint and that adds to their price, but that is bogus. Anyone who spent years sucking down methane isnít going to worry about a little paint here and there, unless I use that old lead paint I still have around. I might even get fancy and offer nonfilter, filter and even menthol-looking wooden cigs.

Maybe I should package them with some kind of signature stamp on the side like Mikeyís Smokes. I could even have an ad campaign and go national, but I fear then the government might get involved if I become too well-known. I can just see "60 Minutes" coming to the house because my wooden cigarettes have been found to cause splinters in laboratory rats.

All in all, I think I have found my chance at really hitting the mother lode of financial independence. Who knew all I had to do was quit a miserable habit that now is making me miserable since I quit.

I have to go now. The semi truck of dowel rods just pulled up. I also ordered a van of illegal immigrants to work the saws. I have to keep my costs down, you know.

Just because I will be saving almost three grand a year by not buying smokes doesnít mean I should just throw money away. I did that for 40 years, I guess. We will see eventually if I threw something else away in those years of smoking: me.

[By MIKE FAK]

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