HIGHTOWER: The New Thing -- Oxygen Bars

I'm no big boozer, but I have been in my share of bars over the years -- just doing anthropological research you understand.I've been in Oklahoma honky-tonks, California fern bars, Portland brew pubs, Mississippi roadhouses, Boston neighborhood bars, Napa Valley wine bars -- but I've never been in a place like the O2 Spa Bar in Toronto, Canada. This is a bar where all the hip patrons come to consume nothing but oxygen. Yes, air. And they charge you for it.This latest bar fad has been all the rage for some time in Japan and Europe, and now it is loose on our continent, poised perilously close to our own nation's border.Lissa Charon, co-owner of the O2 says oxygen bars are "the '90s alternative" giving you an all-natural "oxy-high" that leaves you feeling energized and alert! I wonder if they have cigar rooms in them? Probably not.A doctor with the American Lung Association says "From a purely scientific point of view, it's hard to substantiate what the benefits could be." Those doctors -- always the party poopers.The benefits to the owners of the oxy-bars themselves, though, are pretty obvious: they get 16 bucks for a 20-minute pop of pure oxygen.How does the system work? Well, you sit on a barstool, like in every other bar, but instead of a glass of whatever, you are set-up with a small plastic tube running from an oxygen canister. This tube has tiny prongs, which -- I am not making this up -- you hook into your nostrils. Then . . . you breathe. So there's everybody in the joint acting like everything is perfectly normal, chatting about the ballgame or some such, while they've got plastic tubing in their schnozes and are getting giddy on snootfuls of -- well, air.Shouldn't we seal-off the Canadian border, and stop this before it's too late?

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