2014 has seen more and more electronic cigarette companies paying for spots on popular TV shows and movies; exposing their brands easily to the viewers. This has consequently boosted the sales and the popularity of e cigs, and led to many more people vaping e cigarettes. To this end, the Wall Street Journal has recently reported that more e cigarette brands are scouting for places among scenes in Hollywood in a bid to boost brand awareness, popularity and sales.
SmokeStik, a Canadian electronic cigarette firm, has recently paid for its place in an upcoming movie based on William Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline.” In the film, Milla Jovovichm, the main actress, will be featured smoking a SmokeStik e cigarette stick.
As compared to conventional tobacco cigarettes, e cigarettes are considered by most people to be a safer alternative. This has gone a long way in justifying e cigarette firms moving into the media industry to drive sales. Bill Marangos, the Chief Executive Officer of SmokeStik was quoted as saying “I do not see anything wrong with marketing a product which contributes to saving lives.”
We have covered a few posts on our blog that have shown that electronic cigarettes come with fewer toxic substances as compared to conventional cigarettes. However, the impacts of long-term vaping have not yet been conclusively determined according to some quarters. This has been used as an excuse to ban vaping in many public places across the States.
E Cigs in TV and Film
The strategy of TV and film advertising was similarly used a while back by conventional tobacco companies with amazing results on their part, but devastating effects on smokers and especially teenagers.
Before 1998, it was the norm for tobacco firms to pay to get their cigarette brands featured in scenes in movies and TV shows. This was quite a popular marketing strategy as it exposed the brands to a huge crowd in a seemingly positive way; driving sales. This was primarily facilitated by the increasing rate of smoking among people who would watch these shows and films; and especially the young audience. A research conducted in 2009 showed that teens who watched actors smoke on TV were 3 times more likely to partake in smoking.
In 1998, US state governments and tobacco firms came to an agreement to ban paying for advertising features in films and TV shows. Smoking was however not entirely banned on camera, but scenes featuring smoking were reduced to a mere 22 per year after 2006 as compared to a range of 54 to 98 before. This has also been reflected by a significant decline in the number of youths engaging in smoking two decades later; standing at 15.7%, the lowest records in 2 decades according to the US Center for Disease Control. However, research into the rate of vaping shows that teens are instead turning to vaping in place of conventional smoking.
The Impact of Film Scenes on Vaping
It has been shown that vaping among teens has doubled from 2011 to 2012 with about 7% of American teenagers having tried it out as recorded in the journal paediatrics. This has largely been facilitated by higher rates of advertising, an influx of different e cig brands, as well as an influx in flavours to more than 7700. Furthermore, some e liquids feature names like Gummy Bear; a move which some critics say is directly meant to catch the attention of teenagers.
Experts have further pointed out that scenes featuring vaping may significantly increase these statistics. This however is set to happen as e cigarette firms utilise all the opportunities available to get their brands on the big scene. For instance, Vapor Corp, a giant in the e-cig industry in America has incorporated the CEO of Relativity Media LLC Ryan Kavanaugh to its board of directors. According to the agreement, he will be paid according to the value of the company’s shares; a strong incentive to market their e-cigarettes on the big screen.
BluCig has also utilised this strategy by appointing Jenny McCarthy, the co-host on “The View”, a popular show on ABC, as the company’s spokesperson. Several popular celebrities, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and Julia-Louis Dreyfus have also been frequently spotted vaping.
In a bid to curb the influence of electronic cigarettes on teenagers, the US Food and Drug Administration in April proposed several measures to regulate the industry. These will include prohibiting sales in vending machines, outlining health warnings and giving a minimum age limit on people who may buy e cigarettes and partake in vaping. It was however not outlined when this would take place, but the American Heart Association urged the FDA to accomplish this before the year is over.
Speaking on this, the CEO of the American Heart Association, Nancy Brown, said that “we are on the forefront to preventing the tobacco industry from getting more smokers addicted.”
There is a lot of debate going on worldwide at the moment about e cigarettes, and the debate looks as though it will continue until there is quality control legislation in place, especially where e liquid is concerned. But one thing is certain and that is that e cigarettes are here to stay. It was only a matter of time before they moved in to the film industry. What do you think? Do you think e cigs in film are a good idea? Do you agree with Bill Marangos when he said: “I do not see anything wrong with marketing a product which contributes to saving lives.”? Feel free to drop us a comment in the box below. We’d love to hear your views.
Author: Kevin Ewbank
Avid vaper & co-founder of SmokShop