Smokers become smokers for all kinds of reasons: because of stress, because their moms did it, or because it "looked cool." That last one comes up way too often for our liking (what is this, the 1950s?) but it's hard to shake off one of the oldest smoker-origin stories around. As a recent video from The Wall Street Journal points out, there have been heavy-smoking cool-kid crews since the invention of the cool-kid crew — can you even think of James Dean without a cigarette dangling from his signature, so-cool-it-hurts smirk? And, unfortunately, many of today's celebrities are carrying on the tradition.
It might seem like an easy out to blame the media for smoking's widespread popularity, but product placement is a real thing. And, it's an especially effective approach to advertising when your product is dangerous enough that it's banned from airing actual commercials, as is the case with cigarettes.
But, now, with as few as 9% of American teens identifying as smokers, e-cigarette brands are hoping to take the same approach that cigarettes did over 50 years ago. In her new movie, Cymbeline, Milla Jovovich is set to light up a SmokeStik instead of a Marlboro. As the Journal's video points out, e-cigs usually suggest a certain squareness, maybe that of a normcore ex-smoker dad — not exactly in keeping with the smoldering image Jovovich hopes to cut in her leading role. Add that to e-cigs' (some may say less-than-cool) association with the anti-vaccine movement, thanks to Jenny McCarthy's endorsement, and it looks like the industry has an uphill battle ahead.
That said, there's still hope for the anti-smoking agenda yet. Health and safety are pretty trendy these days — even helmets are hip, which basically means anything's possible.