The good people at

The good people at Nicorette want to help you make nicotine your bitch. And they've finally gotten around to making a flavor of gum that doesn't taste like a burnt rubber tire congealed to the underside of a bloated corpse.

That's right; Nicorette has embarked on a nearly 80-city tour to launch their Fruit Chill flavored gum, a "placebo" version of which you can check out at their base camp at 802 Milam (they're prohibited from distributing actual nicotine). Nicorette folks are on hand from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Friday, and I highly suggest you check it out. They've created something of an oasis, what with the warm, fruit-colored interior and impossibly peppy folks manning different booths.

I made a beeline for the See-How-Long-You-Have-To-Live-O-Meter (my name for it, not theirs). Here, you blow into a spirometerthat measures your lung capacity as well as the "actual" age of your lungs. It turns out my lungs match my chronological age, but the woman telling me to "KEEP BLOWING!" saw a fortyish woman yesterday whose air sacs were a ripe old 101.

Because all that exhaling really had me knockered, I hopped over to the smoothie booth, where a woman fixed me a free, cool mango concoction (they also have strawberry). She reminded me to sign up to win $1 million and a free iPod, which I should have done, seeing as it looked like my lungs and I would be around for a while, knock on wood.

From there, I went to the counseling spot, a little nook with two comfy chairs and a cute "certified smoking cessation therapist" named Gigi. Honestly, if Gigi had told me to suck an exhaust pipe, I would've, but fortunately she just told me to chew new Fruit Chill Nicorette and gave me some tips on how to stay off nicotine after my 12-week Nicorette program. It was sound advice.

Yeah, they're trying to sell you stuff, but they're doing it the right way. First of all, they don't treat you like crap. Second of all, you get a phat smoothie. I've found that genuine customer service is a rarity these days. Go check this deal out, and whether you want to quit or not, you'll walk away with a smile. -- Craig Malisow

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