Doctors know that cigarettes are lethal, so you would think they would be embracing electronic cigarettes as a helpful alternative to help their smoking patients finally kick the habit. Instead, physicians in Pennsylvania are putting their focus on electronic cigarettes and pushing to stop TV advertising and celebrity endorsements. The Pennsylvania Medical Society is calling on the American Medical Association to step up and lobby against ecig marketing. Even though research proves vaping is successful to help smokers quit, these doctors want to see it eliminated from TV shows and movies.
Pulmonologist Richard T. Bell has been a long-term advocate for preventing cigarette advertising, but now he is channeling his energy into getting ecigs out of the movies. “Electronic cigarettes should not be on television or in the movies,” he said. “The health gains that were made through the tobacco settlement could easily swing the opposite way because of electronic cigarettes.”
Dr. Bell worked with colleagues in 1998 to reach a settlement with five major tobacco companies. The Master Settlement Agreement called to Big Tobacco to stop placing products in movies and television shows and pay $10 billion annually in exchange for dropped Medicaid lawsuits in 46 states. Now Dr. Bell wants ecig companies to also step away from celebrity endorsements and big screen appearances.
Despite the fact that research has proven ecigs are beneficial for smoking cessation, Pennsylvania doctors are fighting hard to get rid of vaping advertisements. “Many of these advertisements have themes that promote rebelliousness and glamorize e-cigarette use, which conveys a message to youth that e-cigarette use if fun, socially accepting, and desirable,” said a representative from the American Heart Association. Of course, it’s important to note that the AHA produced no examples of the inappropriate advertising and instead just made blanket statements.
Dr. Karen A. Rizzo, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, hopes ecigs will be held to the same advertising standards as big tobacco. “Simply put, the future health of today’s youth is at risk because electronic cigarettes are treated differently from their tobacco cousins,” she said. “Celebrity endorsements and product placement through Hollywood movies and shows create an environment that will lead us down the wrong road.”
Do you think ecigs should be banned from TV and movie appearances? Are celebrity ecig endorsements really damaging our young people or is the medical community picking on ecigs needlessly?