Vaping Role Models?

Daniel SodkiewiczIn 2011, the Golden Globes awards didn’t give the movie The

Tourist a single award however there was another industry with a huge win to celebrate.  Anyone who knew what a device called the electronic cigarette was cheering, because Johnny Depp had officially given it the stamp of approval.  Even though the movie totally tanked domestically and worldwide, the portrayal of the e-cigarette was the breakthrough all electronic cigarette supporters and smokers had been waiting for.  Johnny Depp’s character sitting on a train puffing away at his e-cigarette was the talk of the town and the appearance of the electronic cigarette made vaping look attractive.  Not only is Johnny Depp chiseled and handsome, but his leading lady is one of the most beautiful women in the world.  The message relayed was an attractive man using a smokeless device in a crowded train with the company of a gorgeous woman is socially acceptable.  The electronic cigarette industry had the long awaited endorsement it was seeking.

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Spiking A New Trend or Not?

The electronic cigarette has had its fair share of controversy, but also the negative backlash from critics about the appeal of a smokeless device to teens and adolescents, because of experimentation and being at such an impressionable age.  The heavy hitters in the electronic cigarette world found sexy celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy and Stephen Dorff to make electronic cigarettes appealing to use and “cool”.  Even without the promotions from Jenny McCarthy and Stephen Dorff, celebrities are still photographed with electronic cigarettes.

Here are a few celebrities who have been seen smoking, but have made the switch to something far less dangerous:

  • Katherine Heigl has made it no secret about her nicotine addiction.  Many of us have seen her on late night talk shows or read about her struggles with nicotine in magazines.  Katherine has spoken of switching from a traditional cigarette to an electronic cigarette when she became a mom.  Heigl also has endorsed the SmokeStik in which her proceeds to go her dog rescue charity.
  • Leonardo Di Caprio is another electronic cigarette user.  Leonardo has recently been slammed by four Democratic Senators for “glamorizing” electronic cigarettes during an awards ceremony.  The Oscar nominated actor is most likely going to continue using his e-cigarette on bike rides and in the club.
  • Simon Cowell has made no mystery into his long term relationship with cigarettes.  Cowell equates smoking with having a good time.  He is rumored to have smoked up to 40 cigarettes a day, but he has officially made the switch to electronic cigarettes in hopes of cutting down on his use of tobacco.
  • Lindsay Lohan has been a media phenomenon for the last few years for all the wrong reasons.  The only thing she has been seen doing right is carrying an electronic cigarette instead of chain smoking with her pack of Marlboro’s.

The Glamorization of Vapor

The glamour of vaping has been affirmed by celebrities, but also adults and parents are responsible for the glorification of tobacco usage.  This is where the huge controversy begins, because young adults are mesmerized by all of endorsements and watching not just celebrities use electronic cigarettes, but every day people in their life.  One of the main debates is where to draw the line with images glamorizing electronic cigarettes on television and in magazines, even adding warning images and changing the labels of electronic cigarettes will not alleviate the problem.  Stopping youths using tobacco products is a battle in itself, but another huge factor that must be considered is whether or not accepting that youths are going to smoke or vape whether we like it or not?  The teens of today have so many things to steer clear from, but is that a realistic approach?   Teens and many young adult are huge fans of celebrities and everything they represent from the electronic cigarette being used down to the brand of lipstick being worn.  It’s about appearing to have a celebrity image that is why an electronic cigarette and so many other things are so appealing.

Where is the Solution?

The biggest feat to overcome is realizing and accepting that teens and young adults are going to experiment, whether it is traditional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes.  Rebelling against parents, fitting into a crowd, and mocking a celebrity image are all ways teens and young adults cope with learning to identify with themselves.  Therefore, instead of forbidding or creating more of a problem when a teen or young adult is found smoking, it would be a better approach to encourage a smarter way of using tobacco related products.  Obviously endorsing or encouraging a traditional cigarette would not be recommended, but also encouraging an e-cigarette is almost a catch 20/20.  Parents and leaders already know teens and young adults are going to follow the trends and identify with a role model, but that could be the perfect solution to a growing problem.

Utilizing the “role model effect” could be a very resourceful and progressive way towards aiding in the experimentation of tobacco and other products.  While the electronic cigarette trend is popular, it would only make sense to promote a safer approach, rather than work on harsher penalties and more regulations.  Another aspect to consider is revenue.  All of the time spent on creation and implementation of new tobacco regulations could be spent on promotion of a better alternative than traditional tobacco.  While it is still unknown the exact effects of the electronic cigarette, there are still plenty of positives of the switch.  Here are 5 positive reflections of using an electronic cigarette as opposed to a traditional cigarette:

  1. E- cigarettes do not have the distinctive odor that traditional cigarettes have.  Cigarette smoke can be really annoying, not to mention it can ruin your home, your car, and your clothing.  The odor sticks with you and can make even your skin and hair smell bad.
  2. Money is always going to be an issue.  Traditional cigarettes cost money to smoke, whereas electronic cigarettes are not going to be quite as expensive.  Traditional cigarettes are also taxed differently for now, but the tax on a box of normal cigarettes is going to be around 20% of the total cost of the pack.
  3. Electronic cigarettes are safer.  Burning with an open flame can be really dangerous, especially is the person smoking isn’t careful or using precautions when smoking.  Worldwide the statistics reveal that 10% of all deaths are traditional cigarette related.  That is huge and also quite alarming as well.
  4. One of the biggest debates about electronic cigarettes – health.  Survey after survey has been studies and numerous tests have been analyzed, however there are still obvious positives towards electronic cigarettes being safer than traditional cigarettes.  The biggest pro is all of the smokers that switched from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes reported feeling much better.
  5. A positive that often gets overlooked, because of all the controversy in other areas is social reason.  A single woman who is very healthy and refrains from smoking or drinking in her life is less likely to date a heavy traditional smoker for the simple reason of the smell.  However, an electronic cigarette has a better chance of being overlooked, because there is not any odor, nor bad breath – hopefully.

The Center for Disease and Control reports an estimate of over 4,000 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette each day.  The estimated amount of these 4,000 people under 18 that will become a daily cigarette smoker is 1,000.  400,000 young adults become smokers each year.  If it’s known that traditional cigarettes are going to have more risks than the electronic cigarette, it would seem as though that is the answer without encouraging the usage.

Celebrities, film, television, and sports are going to be the place to target new ad campaigns with an emphasis on celebrities getting better educated about the importance of teen smoking.  If a movie or television show is going to have smoking, then make sure an electronic cigarette is introduced.  In 2012 the Surgeon General’s report concluded that if the film/television industry had a standard of rating movies R if tobacco usage was going to be included, there would be a reduction in youth smoking.  However, there will need to be more than just having movies and television rated R to keep youths from smoking/vaping.  Celebrities are always in the media whether it’s on television or on the Internet with paparazzi photographs trying to catch the next “buzz”.

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The marketing of electronic cigarettes isn’t to encourage or tell young adult under 18 to start vaping or forget that smoking can cause many different illnesses and diseases.  Marketing electronic cigarettes has spread all over including sponsoring a youth’s football team’s strip.  Professor Gerald Hasting at the University of Stirling said “E-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine delivery services are probably much safer than conventional cigarettes, and so if smokers switch to them, many lives could be save.”  For now all avenues and aspects need to be respectfully considered in determining the future of advertising and marketing.

Daniel Sodkiewicz

BIO

Daniel Sodkiewicz is a busy web developer/designer in New York City with his own design company.  His passion for a healthy lifestyle has made him dedicated to spreading the word about vaping.  He is a consultant for www.zemocigs.com and loves to promote new alternative options to living well.

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