Even to those who are familiar with all of Hollywood’s hustle and bustle, it can at times be difficult to distinguish between the emerging stories that are truly worthy of our attention and those that, while perhaps unconventional or strange, can justifiably be chalked up to being nothing more than a byproduct of the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
To be frank, a celebrity’s actions should rarely (if ever) be the incendiary call to action for the social crusaders among us, nor should they be for that matter the fodder that we look to for inspiration. So how then did something as seemingly innocuous as Leonardo DiCaprio enjoying a vaping machine at the SAG awards almost break the Internet?
The truth is, finding out the real reason why so many decried the award-winning actor’s vaping is a little difficult to flush out, but it may safe to say that it comes down to the following hotly debated arguments:
- E-cigarettes are seen as bad for your health
- Vaping on television is tantamount to inciting today’s youth to take up smoking
- Smoking in film has long been taboo subject
E-cigarettes Are Bad For Your Health – Aren’t They?
For someone who doesn’t understand the world e-cigarettes, e-juices, and vape shops, it’s not surprising that they might draw some erroneous parables to the act of smoking. After all, e-cigarettes look like real cigarettes, they emit voluptuous plumes of vapor (that bear a striking resemblance to smoke), and some of them even light up at the end to mimic the physical characteristics of a lit cigarette.
Visual similarities aside, when it comes to your health, there are no similarities in the process of vaping and smoking; and while it’s true they may look the same, comparing the way they work is like comparing a night here on Earth and a day on far away Mars.
Traditional cigarettes use the process of combustion to burn tobacco, releasing smoke that the user subsequently inhales. In addition to delivering nicotine to the user’s system, the combustion of the tobacco releases harmful carcinogens into the body where, given enough time, they can lead to a host of different cancers and other debilitating or life shortening illnesses.
Electronic cigarettes for their part do not rely on combustion in the delivery of nicotine. Instead, an e-cigarette’s battery heats a central coil that essentially vaporizes a flavoured liquid. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes are much safer than traditional tobacco products. In fact, many in the medical community acknowledge e-cigarettes as a viable and safe alternative that can help even the most ardent smokers drop the habit.
E-cigarettes Are Gateway Devices to Smoking
Another reason why residents of the Internet may have objected to Leonardo’s indulgence is that many assume that vaping can entice the nation’s youth to one day take up smoking. This line of thinking however is based in fear and not fact, and can’t be further from the truth. Studies have shown that while practitioners of vaping are on the rise, there is no evidence suggesting a correlation between electronic cigarettes and a higher rate of smoking among minors and young adults.
This may be due to the fact that many jurisdictions across the country have imposed strict marketing and merchandising rules surrounding e-cigarettes and their accessories.
Many longtime smokers have even claimed that e-cigarettes have helped them quit smoking where everything else has failed.
Smoking in the Film Industry is Taboo
Smoking cigarettes in film has long used to create a machismo effect. And while its character defining attributes are debatable, members of the movie going public have long be sought the end of smoking in film roles where children can look up to them. By and large, you won’t find smoking in many films that are rated for younger audiences.
Some may say that Leonardo DiCaprio’s behavior at the SAG awards was in poor taste, that he is looked up to and that his actions may be copied by impressionable youth. Others may argue that he is simply a private citizen, exercising his freedoms in public.
What saddens me most is that DiCaprio is an outspoken advocate for the preservation of the environment, a man that selflessly donates his time to ensuring the next generation can enjoy the earth the way we have. In spite of the good DiCaprio has done, I’m at loss to think that more people are taking notice of him partaking in a harmless habit than they are of his advocacy of protecting the only planet we have.