My Sunday newspaper comics section prominently features the “Shoe” comic strip on the front page. It’s a favorite of mine. Today’s Shoe spoofs the side effects of Rx drugs — specifically a smoking-cessation drug. Although it doesn’t mention any brand names, Chantix is the only non-nicotine drug approved by the FDA for smoking cessation currently available by prescription.

Here’s the comic, which I pinned on my “Fun Pharma Images” Pinterest board:

According to the Shoe web site “The strip’s namesake, Shoe, is based on legendary North Carolina journalist Jim Shumaker, Jeff MacNelly’s first newspaper boss. P. Martin Shoemaker is a grouchy, cigar-smoking, newspaperbird with a tough side and an even tougher other side.”

Even tough birds, it seems, can suffer drug side effects. Shoe mentions “chest pains, bad breath and a hacking cough” as his main side effects. This is funny in context of the quit smoking indication but Chantix has been linked to a much more serious side effect: suicide. For more on that see “Chantix May Be More Dangerous Than Smoking!” and the chart below:

Of course, Shoe may be taking some other drug such as a generic version of Zyban.

The question remains: would Shoe be better off smoking his cigars or taking a medication to quit?

I’m not a cigar smoker, but I wouldn’t inhale cigar smoke if I were. But there’s the secondary effects of inhaling the smoke that’s released into the surrounding air by cigars.

In any case, Shoe would be a terrible boss to work for whether he quit smoking or not!