E-cigarettes, cigarettes, cellphones and the movies

Whatever will the movies do without cigarettes?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I am not alone. I just finished watching the second season of The Killing (highly recommended by the way) and Sin City once again.

Its these kind of movies that make you realize how fundamentally different vaping is from smoking. And it all has to do with the danger. The tobacco control people have this bizarre idea that kids are attracted to tobacco because they don’t think it is dangerous, that they will take up smokeless tobacco and e-cigs because they think they are safe. The opposite is true – it is precisely because smoking is playing with death that adolescents are drawn to it.

In the movies, cigarettes stylishly deliver both death and immortality in one neat package.  They are a beautiful shorthand that indicates its all or nothing, time is short, and only now matters.  E-cigs will deliver the smoke that looks so great on the screen but they are too safe to get much else across.

The closest rival for that seems to be cell phones.  A cell phone in a movie cannot be ignored – it controls the action in many films.   In fact, there are a lot of people forced to dance to the enemy’s tune simply because they have a cellphone.  If you aren’t connected they would not be able to force you into one of those ludicrous follow the directions and keep your phone on plots.

The last few smokes in a pack have been replaced by the waning power bars on the phone.

Some of the smoking in movies is a product of reflecting reality but increasingly they may become indispensable in the way guns are – improbably popular on the screen despite their rarity in everyday life.

Just musing.

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