January 3, 2016

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

E-cigs drop off Hollywood's A-list

The Wall Street Journal has reported that e-cigarette marketers — including Relativity honcho Ron Kavanaugh — boast publicly about exploiting product placement in Hollywood movies. 
That’s the opposite of Big Tobacco’s longtime habit of keeping smoking deals secret or at least deniable.  
Has blatancy paid off? Or back-fired?
2015 saw more movies with e-cigs than ever. Yet e-cigs have gone decidedly downscale since their 2010 premiere in the hands of Johnny Depp. E-cigs now show up in the hands of actors with lower buzz and in movies with smaller budgets (see table of top-grossing US movies shoing e-cigarettes).

The good news? All the major studios have kept e-cigs out of their kid-rated movies since 2011.
Not so good? E-cigs are showing up in movies marketed to young adults, potentially crossing over to teen audiences on video. 
E-cig marketers face fire from local, state, and international health authorities. They may be eager to get their products into low- and mid-budget movies before the door slams shut. 
But flashing a big roll of bills to push nicotine on the Big Screen hasn’t helped them crash Hollywood’s A-list. 
After all, Hollywood doesn’t like to look easy.
Tobacco content data from Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!, a project of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails. Table compiled by the Smokefree Movies project of the University of California, San Francisco.
IMDbPro.com’s STARmeter rankings are based on interest shown by the site’s claimed 250 million unique monthly visitors. Actor’s peak rank consulted in the weeks after movie’s release. IMDb is an Amazon property.

Blog post prepared by Jonathan Polansky.

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