It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an attempt to appeal to young people through familiar tropes and animation!
The Ontario Lung Association announced on Tuesday the creation of its own superhero, The Toker: A new “comic-book inspired cannabis public health education initiative,” they hope will be a tool in educating young people about the impacts cannabis smoke can have on the lungs.
In a short YouTube clip titled “Epic Walk,” The Toker is revealed as a green-clad spandex-wearing avenger who appears to be eating a late-night bowl of cereal in a bathrobe while watching TV (relatable).
A news break comes in to tell everyone that the city is under attack by “Martian warlords.” In a burst of swagger, muscles, and smoke, The Toker takes to the streets. Apparently lacking a blunt-wagon (or even a toke-cycle), the green guardian opts to walk to the scene of the crime.
He makes it a few heroic steps through his neon city, then struggles to catch his breath as the Martian armada flies overhead. It has all the camp and kitschiness of an old Saturday morning cartoon, but with enough self-awareness to make it reasonably funny.
Viewers are directed to a site created by the Canadian Lung Association, offering various information about the potential impacts cannabis smoke can have on the lungs. All the information is pulled from studies that the site lists in a reference section near the bottom of the page.
“In a lighthearted way, the Toker highlights the impact that smoking cannabis can have on one’s lungs, as many people aren’t aware that it contains many of the same toxic ingredients as tobacco smoke — like tar, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide,” says George Habib, President and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association, in a release. “The goal of this national education effort is to protect the health and safety of young Canadians by giving them the knowledge they need to make informed choices.”
According to their website, the Canadian Lung Association was founded in 1900, under the name The Canadian Association for the Prevention of Consumption and Other Forms of Tuberculosis. Now, it’s a not-for-profit volunteer organization that promotes healthy lifestyles that “help all Ontarians breathe.”
Health risks in the site’s warnings include an increased risk of infection and bronchitis, and points to an increase in the risk of cancer, while also maintaining that more study is needed before proceeding.