Home / News Briefs / Doctors Want Hollywood to Cancel E-Cigs

Doctors Want Hollywood to Cancel E-Cigs

ecigs hollywoodBy Brad Broker

Concerned about the growing popularity and use of electronic cigarettes, physicians are calling on the entertainment industry to stop glamorizing and endorsing e-cigs.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society passed a resolution calling on the American Medical Association to lobby federal agencies to prohibit celebrity endorsements and product placement of electronic cigarettes.

“Electronic cigarettes should not be on television or in the movies,” says Richard T. Bell, MD, a pulmonologist from Berks County, Pennsylvania and author of the resolution that was adopted as policy.  “The health gains that were made through the tobacco settlement could easily swing the opposite way because of electronic cigarettes.”

In 1998, forty-six states and the five largest tobacco companies reached an agreement concerning the advertising, marketing and promotion of tobacco products. The states agreed to drop their Medicaid lawsuits in return for annual payments of $10 billion and a variety of marketing restrictions.

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) prohibited cigarette manufacturers from directly or indirectly targeting youth, which included restrictions on use of cigarettes in cartoons, television and movies.  However, the modern electronic cigarette had not yet been introduced at the time of the settlement and was not written into the agreement.

According to a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used electronic cigarettes in 2013. That represents a 300 percent increase in only three years. — from 79,000 in 2011 to over 263,000 in 2013. The study found that youth who had never smoked conventional cigarettes but who used e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to to smoke conventional cigarettes.

Much of the success of electronic cigarettes is due to the product marketing to youths through television, social media, and web ads.  “Many of these advertisements have themes that promote rebelliousness and glamorize e-cigarette use, which conveys the message to youth that e-cigarette use is fun, socially acceptable, and desirable,” according to the American Heart Association.

The CDC study asked students if they had seen tobacco advertisements and endorsements on the internet, in magazines and newspapers, and in television programs and movies.  Researchers found that youth who reported exposure to cigarette marketing had higher rates of intention to smoke than those who were not exposed to such ads.

“Simply put, the future health of today’s youth is at risk because electronic cigarettes are treated differently from their tobacco cousins,” says Karen A. Rizzo, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.  “Celebrity endorsements and product placement through Hollywood movies and shows create an environment that will lead us down the wrong road.”

(Photo by StopCancerFund.org via Wikimedia Commons)


  1. NO! It’s the smokers that these products are supposed to attract. If parents, won’t or don’t educate their teens, or kids to not smoke or vape, that does not equate to the amount of aging smokers who will and do benefit the most from this miraculous NON SMOKING alternative to smoking. Yes, so it’s glamorous and glamorous does not belong only to the elite as much as they think it does. It belongs to everyday people. Teens that drink underage, smoke or engage in sex have always done so no matter the movies or music they listen to. Stop putting up road blocks to the only proven alternative to smoking that adult consumers enjoy without the diseases that smoking is said to be eminent. Get with it, encourage adult smokers to give them a try. Don’t SHAME, BLAME AND TAX VAPERS TO DEATH AS YOU HAVE SMOKERS!

  2. Seems like there’s a lot of people with too much time on their hands. So much energy spent on statistics and whether e-cigarettes lead to regular smoking, or does one of them encourage youth smokers or is one good for you and the other bad…blah, blah, blah.

    I tell my patients they have two choices regarding smoking (regular or electronic):

    1) If you choose to exercise your freedom to smoke, do not complain later in life that you have cancer or you can’t quit or you need an e-cig to get you off of regular cigs. This is your choice and you are aware of the potential consequences, so be happy with your decision, or…

    2) Don’t smoke.

    • So you are telling your patients that smoking combustible cigarettes is as safe as FDA-approved nicotine inhalers and patches? (Because e-cigarettes have the same things in them and are equally safe.)

      Don’t complain if they complain that they would have switched to NRT or e-cigs and saved their lives if you hadn’t lied to them.

      • If people choose option 2 (“Don’t Smoke”) before they begin, then we’re not having this conversation.

        However, if they choose to smoke, they will spend a good portion of their life regretting the decision and trying to figure out if the inhaler or patch is the best way to quit. Or is it the e-cig. Or hypnosis. Here’s the truth: none of them are permanent. They all may work for a bit, but you will go back to cigarettes.

        So let’s spend the time and energy used to endorse these products and research statistics and argue with scientists to instead encourage people not to smoke at all.

        • All I can say to you is god help your patients! with your mind-set.

          I haven’t had a tobacco cigarette for 21 months now and I know of many more people that haven’t smoked for a lot longer than that, by using e-cigs and will never go back to smoking. So yes they can be permanent.

          I never even think about smoking unlike many people who stop cold turkey or with NRT therapies, who constantly crave smoking…

          And as for this statement “So let’s spend the time and energy used to endorse these products and research statistics and argue with scientists to instead encourage people not to smoke at all.”
          Your saying quit or die to the current smokers?

          I really do fear for your patients

        • It is correct that most smokers will spend their lives regretting the decision to start. I did for over 4 decades.
          E-cigs have given a route out of that trap, nothing else has ever come close. To suggest that l would return to smoking is just plain stupid and shows complete ignorance of what makes vaping attractive to smokers and ex smokers.
          The only thing that would have me back on the ‘stinkies’ is if the corrupt and the stupid succeed in their attempts to get effective devices banned – even then l will probably choose to become a criminal by sourcing what l need on the black market just to protect my health.

  3. Nobody quoted in this sensationalized propaganda knows anything about e-cigarettes (except how to repeat false fear mongering talking points they were provided by e-cig prohibitionists).

    In August, Smokefree Pennsylvania submitted 110 pages of comments to the FDA that analyzed virtually all of the published studies on e-cigarettes, and urged FDA to discontinue its proposed Deeming Regulation (that would protect cigarettes and threaten the lives of all vapers and smokers by banning >99.9% of e-cigs, and by giving the e-cig industry to Big Tobacco) at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2014-N-0189-80846

    Smokefree Pennsylvania has also issued Tobacco Harm Reduction Updates almost weekly since 2010, which contain objective information about e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigarettes, and which are all posted at
    http://www.ecita.org.uk/forum/index.php?topic=63.0 to

    The scientific and empirical evidence consistently finds e-cigarettes (aka vapor products):
    – are 99% (+/-1%) less hazardous than cigarettes,
    – have never been known to cause any disease or death,
    – are nearly all (i.e. >99%) consumed by smokers and by exsmokers who switched to vaping,
    – have replaced more than 2 Billion packs of cigarettes worldwide in the past five years,
    – have helped several million smokers quit smoking, and helped millions more significantly reduce their cigarette consumption,
    – are more effective than FDA approved nicotine gums, lozenges, patches and inhalers for smoking cessation (which have a 95% failure rate),
    – pose fewer risks than FDA approved Verenicline (Chantix),
    – have never been found to create nicotine dependence in any nonsmoker (youth or adult),
    – have never been known to precede cigarette smoking in any daily smoker,
    – emit trace levels of nontoxic aerosol that poses no harm to nonusers,
    – have never poisoned any human, and
    – have further denormalized cigarette smoking (as youth and adult smoking rates and cigarette consumption have declined every year since 2007 when vapor sales began to skyrocket).

    Bill Godshall
    Executive Director
    Smokefree Pennsylvania

  4. E-cigarette makers would be thrilled to be able to advertise with an old woman with a walker throwing away her oxygen tank. But that would be a crime, because it is illegal to even suggest that e-cigs are less dangerous, even though it is a scientific fact. It is illegal to say that vapers smoke fewer cigarettes. Or that many of us have had health improvements. If you don’t want to see attractive ads, legalize truth.

  5. Lies, lies and lies again…
    ” The study found that youth who had never smoked conventional cigarettes but who used e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to to smoke conventional cigarettes.”: this result was achieved only by including to the “future smokers” those who replied “unlikely” to the question “will you smoke a tobacco cigarette this year”.

    E-cigs killed no one after 8 years being on the market, and helped millions to avoid dying from cancer and other tobacco-related sickness, which would otherwise have killed 50% of those millions ex-smokers.

    E-cigs are demonised without any scientific reason just because, where they are freely available, they hurt the tobacco and NRT sales badly.

  6. “The study found that youth who had never smoked conventional cigarettes but who used e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to to smoke conventional cigarettes.”

    That’s no surprise. The common thread is nicotine. Had ecigs not existed, these people would have gone straight to cigarettes. Ecigs aren’t resulting in extra young smokers. The number of young smokers is falling.

    • That statement is actually a lie. The study measured “smoking intention” which included a response of “I probably would not smoke” … this is bad science clearly being manipulated to create a false impression of ecigarettes.

  7. Hey MD’s, we’re not asking for your permission to save our own lives; in fact we would ask for your help if only you cared, but obviously you don’t. So be it and good luck with your hateful endgame of bullying and refusing real solutions.

  8. Quote: “the future health of today’s youth is at risk because electronic cigarettes are treated differently from their tobacco cousins,” says Karen A. Rizzo. The risk, Ms Rizzo, is in your mind! Electronic cigarettes are treated differently to tobacco cigarettes in the same way that bicycles are treated differently to cars. Listen carefully; THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING! Is our youth in danger because a firework is treated differently to a hydrogen bomb? They are both explosive devices after all. Is youth in danger because a pea-shooter is viewed differently to an AK47 rifle? They are both weapons that discharge a missile. Lemonade is treated differently to whiskey, a kite to an aircraft, a puddle to an ocean, and so on. Matter and anti-matter may be ‘cousins’, but they will never be the same thing, no matter how you try to conflate them. So, let’s treat e-cigs differently to analogues – THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

  9. I just watched an episode of Walking Dead.. it showed open flame and real “smoke”.. also showed the bbq of a leg, yes cannibal cooking 101 for the masses. This show outranked Football in viewings. And the Doctors are worried about our youth viewing a E-Cig in ads? WTH!!

    Please, lets tell the truth.. the E-Cig is a godsend to get people off real cigs.. but it hurts the TAX base for many countries. Although its not a true “sin tax” Item,why should any item rate as such? what happens to fair tax across the board? anyways.. The countries need this to be taxed as such so they can keep the excess income coming in. truth be told.. that is the truth.

    Many prescription drugs pushed quickly to market are much more harmful.

    Suck it up buttercup.. that is the truth.
    time that you can “handle the truth”.

  10. Since when did the e-cigarette company target the youth? I would like to see a concrete example, because I have read a lot of (so called) serious articles about it and none of them give a good example. The most famous companies and products have severe regulations against the sell of e-products to minors. E-cigarettes will never be healthy, they are just a better option. That is the thing we have been trying to tell for a long time.

    Cheers from Germany,
    Martin Müller
    E-Zigaretten Test

  11. For the last 20 years, I have worked in product placement. The tobacco companies were forbidden from compensating films and TV shows in exchange for placing their brands, but there has never been anything in place to prevent producers, writers, and or directors from using them on film anyway just because they wanted their character to be a smoker.

    E-Cigs are newer to the advertising landscape. If they stop people from smoking actual cigarettes, then so be it. But I agree that if they have negative health effects, there should be some regulation on how they are marketed.

    Movies and TV shows however, show a lot more than this. Nothing has ever been in place to stop cocaine, heroine, LSD, crack, or meth from being shown in these types of projects. They change what the rating is. Bottom line, if you are over 17 years old and can see an “R” rated movie by yourself, the film can show pretty much anything it wants to.

    • Producers should use e-cigarette devices in their films. These devices have shown to help people stop smoking. They are cool. They don’t lead to nicotine addiction. They are safe. All the ingredients in an e-cigarette are FDA approved for inhalation and ingestion. The EPA finds the chemicals are safe to inhale and pose no health problem at the levels found in an e-cigarette. A recent study released this September from the University of Southern California funded by WHO showed the e-cigarette they studied was cleaner than the outdoor air. Environmental researcher Dr. Igor Burstyn at Drexel University in Pennsylvania found in his January 2014 review of all the e-cigarette emission studies into 2013 showed that e-cigarettes pose no health concerns to a user and none to a bystander.

      Canada’s health services is reporting a 19% drop in individuals using smoking cessation services since e-liquid devices have been introduced. This equates to millions of dollars of taxpayer money being saved.

  12. In the context of things like controlling Ebola, isn’t this a bit of small beer froth? Like haven’t we got enough real problems to police?

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