Vaping in Film and Fictionby Alex Coyne Lifestyle
Smoking has always carried an air of sophistication and mystery; how many times does James Bond light up on-screen?
That changed when mainstream studies began showing that tobacco can be seriously harmful to your health. Luckily, the first smokeless e-cig patent was filed in 1963 by Herbert A. Gilbertt and vaping has since taken off – even throughout your favourite fiction.
Oxford Dictionaries picked ‘vape’ as their International Word of the Year for 2014 was ‘vape’, - which is not surprising when you find references to vapes everywhere and celebrities proclaiming their love for the new vaping phenomenon. In the same year, actress and former model Katherine Heigl vaped with David Letterman in 2014, noting that she used e-cigarettes as a method to kick the tobacco habit for good.
Vaping on TV Shows
2 Broke Girls premiered in 2011. The show follows Max and Caroline, two down-on-their-luck cupcake store owners who are forced to rebuild their lives from the ground up.
Season 4 Episode 11 shows a bunch of ‘hipsters’ bringing their vapes into the diner – something which gets them booted. It’s worth noting that Sophie is also shown smoking a vape at the diner and nobody bats an eye. Nothing against vaping: Guess they just don’t like hipsters.
Unfortunately for most, the show was cancelled in April 2017.
House of Cards (premiered 2013) is a Hollywood adaptation of the eponymous BBC-series; this version stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara.
Frank, played by Kevin Spacey, is shown vaping in an attempt to kick the cigarette habit. It’s not cheating, he explains, it’s vapour.
Humans premiered on AMC in 2015; if you haven’t seen it yet, the best description we have is Bicentennial Man on steroids...
In a futuristic age, people take to employing “Synths” – artificially intelligent humanoids built to act as obedient servants to their human families. The regular appearance of vaping is thanks to Detective Drummond (played by Neil Maskell) on the show and sparked a lot of subsequent positive commentary from the online vaping community. AMC confirmed a third series in 2017.
HBO’s True Detective stars Matthew McConaughey (as Rustin Cohle) and Woody Harrelson (as Martin Hart) in one of Hollywood’s current top crime dramas.
They play two hard-boiled detectives on the trail of one of the most gruesome crimes either of them have ever seen in their careers: If you’re a fan of old hard-boiled cop shows or any film noir movie or series, you’ll love True Detective.
During season two, Paul Woodrugh takes a drive with Ani Bezzerides and, when spotting her vape, remarks, “Is that a f—e-cigarette?” There are rumours of a third series on the way, with fans calling for the show to up its game after a poorly received second season.
Billions premiered in 2016 and it’s already looking towards the third season. Characters Bobby and Lara Axelrod share a vape in the second episode, and according to news reports the Pax 2 has been making appearances in TV shows all over the place thanks to serious popularity with stars: Its appearances include Benders, Entourage, Broad City and Looking, too.
Matador was a short-lived TV series from 2014 featuring soccer player Tony “Matador” Bravo (played by Gabriel Luna) who works as an undercover CIA agent in his spare time.
The series was cancelled after its first season due to a lack of international acclaim. Samuel (played by Louis Ozawa Changchien) is reportedly shown smoking a cigalike (at least according to e-Cigarette-Forum members).
The Simpsons has made more than one reference to vaping in recent years: In a 2015 episode entitled “Let’s Go Fly A Coot” Bart gets introduced to vaping by Annika, a cousin of Milhouse, and starts buying his vaping supplies from the Kwik-E Mart. The episode attracted more than a bit of controversy after showing Maggie – yes, the baby – vaping along. Whoops. Even Groundskeeper Willie is shown vaping – with bagpipes, of course.
Vaping in Movies
The Tourist was released in 2010 starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, grossing an estimated $278 million at the box office on top of a $100 million budget.
While not greatly received by film critics, it was still nominated for three Golden Globes after its release.
Frank Tupelo, played by Johnny Depp, is shown to be an avid vaper and is clutching one in his hands during the scene where he is first introduced to Elise, played by Jolie, on a train ride en route to Venice.
Sex Tape was released in 2014 starring Jack Black, Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz.
Now, while “Jack Black Sex Tape” is not necessarily something you want to look up on your nearest search-engine with the safe-search option off, this scene is worth watching even just to see Jack Black puffing on an e-cigarette for his role as, apparently, the owner of YouPorn.
Jack Black reportedly vapes during his time off, too, and there’s even a Reddit user out there who claims Black stopped by their store several years ago to buy himself a vape – true or not? You decide.
Without giving away too much of the movie’s plot, The Lazarus Effect (2014) is a brand new take on old-school Frankenstein’s monster-style movies and something horror fans would love to check out. What happens when you bring someone back to life?
Clay (played by Evan Peters) is shown vaping in several scenes throughout the movie, and you’ll eventually cringe for one of the best horror movie scenes involving a vape ever filmed. There’s even been a healthy bit of online debate on just what vape it is, with some users concluding that he’s likely smoking a V2 pen – although other debaters reckon it’s a cigalike.
Drive Hard (2014) stars John Cusack as a retired racer kidnapped by a ruthless thief who forces his hand into being his personal getaway driver. Cusack is already known as an avid vaper and vapes in several of his movies, though Drive Hard (which was, for some reason, originally supposed to be called Hard Drive) is especially notable for Cusack’s puffing throughout.
According to internet users after some heavy debate, he’s puffing on an eGo C-Twist in the movie and trailer.
Hangover is the kind of series you don’t expect too much from and it won’t disappoint. All three in the trilogy falls under your typical guy-comedy, with the expected amount of slapstick, stoned humour and profanity mixed in to keep things just the right level of entertaining if you’re into that – oh, and don’t forget that boxer Mike Tyson got professional singing lessons to prepare for his role as wedding singer. Part III makes this list for Marshall, the main antagonist in this part, who is shown vaping several times.
Map to the Stars stars Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson and – of course, being a massive vape enthusiast as we already know – John Cusack. Stafford Weiss, played by Cusack, is shown with a vape throughout the movie.
Neighbors hit the box office in 2014 starring Seth Rogan, Kelly Radner, Zac Efron and Dave Franco - yes, he is the brother of James Franco if you were wondering.
The movie was released in some countries as Bad Neighbours instead and grossed an estimated $270.7 million at the box office. Of course, all you have to do is head to the nearest online vaping community to see them pointing out that Efron’s character is brandishing a vape.
Dirty Grandpa (2013) starred Efron (again) alongside Robert de Niro, playing the grandson of a hardened (though retired) US Army bad-ass; the pair are forced into a road-trip when his grandmother dies and Efron’s character is forced into a road trip.
Along the way, he discovers that his grandfather had an entire life and set of skills he had no idea about. The movie also features Efron puffing on a vape mod – but, be warned, what he’s vaping in this one isn’t legal or safe on any level. (Hint: It’s crack.) Be sure you don’t confuse this Bad Grandpa with the (also 2013) movie by Johnny Knoxville.
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay was released in 2008 as the second film in the Harold & Kumar franchise; Kumar screws the both of them pretty early on in the movie when he takes his own invention – the smokeless bong – on an airplane.
Yes, it’s basically his own version of a vape some years before vaping became a mainstream craze.
Cymbeline (also released as Anarchy in the UK) was a 2014/2015 movie starring Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, John Leguizamo and a vape-wielding Milla Jovovich in a modern reimagining of Shakespeare’s eponymous play (for those who’ve never read it, it was, of course, called Cymbeline – not Anarchy!).
The vape’s appearance in the movie apparently cost vape producer Smokestik a six-figure amount for the shameless product plug; was it worth it?
Beneath the Darkness (2011) is a Hollywood horror offering starring Dennis Quaid, Tony Oller and Aimee Teegarden. Quaid plays Vaughn Ely, a quarterback-turned-mortician who is shown vaping several times throughout the movie.
Sons of Anarchy, while not exclusively featuring vaping, inspired a team of vape-enthusiasts to come up with their own SoA-inspired brand of e-liquid called Sons of Vapor. We can only guess at what it would taste like: Cigarettes, leather jackets, engine oil and burning tyres, maybe?
Vaping In Video Games and Music Videos
How about fiction that doesn’t fall under movies, TV shows or books? The vaping phenomenon isn’t restricted to films and TV: It even made an appearance in the 2015 video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Snake, the series’ main character who was always known for being a smoker, switches over from chain-smoking cigars to puffing on an accessorial e-cigarette called the Phantom Cigar – this, when done in the game, allows you to fast forward some of the game’s real-time cycle.
The Sims is one of the most popular gaming series’ ever to be created and has always been known to be highly modifiable by users either through installing expansion packs, downloading their own in-game items or creating their own.
The Sims 4 allows your Sims to access a device called The Bubble Blower: Basically, it’s a vape-hookah hybrid offering your characters options like Cosmic Encounter, Deepest Plum, Fairy Fizz and other mood-altering options. According to Sims Community, there’s even a hack to allow your Sims to include gases like Radon, Sulfur, Argon, Helium or Krypton. Whoa, you might not want to try that in real life!
Vape Master is for fans of mini-games and turns out to be an entire game about vaping – hey, games are fictional! In the game, your goal is to blow out the smoke from your vape at exactly the right moment: Judging by the game’s reviews, which are largely positive, serious vaping fans might enjoy this to kill some extra time.
Want to see Dave Grohl start up a party in a retirement home? That’s exactly what Foo Fighters did for their newest single and music video Run, released on the 1st of June 2017. Of course, it’s only on this list because Dave Grohl grabs a vape - Foo Fighters fans will be glad to know there are rumors of a ninth album en route.
Pittsburgh Writer Ron Gavalic even wrote this piece entitled “Writing Characters Who Vape” in 2014 to encourage other authors to incorporate vapes into their writing – and how to get the technical details right.
Do any of your favourite fictional characters vape, or does your Lord of the Rings fan-fiction have the wise Gandalf vaping instead? Let us know in the comments below...