One thing that will help to Vape become more normalized in society is seeing the action on television. And this is beginning to happen much more regularly. Of course, having that extra prominence brings with it benefits and disadvantages. Here are nine occasions where vaping took center stage in a TV series.
House of Cards (Season 2, Episode 4)
The Netflix production House of Cards is one of the most popular series around right now. Kevin Spacey plays the deceptive Democrat politician Frank Underwood and shows himself to be a vaper midway through the second season. His wife Claire accused him of smoking when seeing him with the CBD cigarette, at which point Frank fired back saying he wasn’t, because “it’s a vapor.”
This was a great moment for vaping as it made it the focus of the show, instead of just an afterthought. And by explicitly differentiating smoking from vaping, House of Cards showed they were out to educate as well as just entertain.
It was not that it was all great promotion for the vaping community, with Frank adding that vaping was “addiction without the consequences.” However, we’ll take what we can get. By illustrating vaping as a way for smokers to switch to a less harmful alternative was a great advertisement for harm reduction advocates, vaping’s appearance on House of Cards did the cause far better than harm.
Luke Cage (Season 1, Episode 6)
While Marvel is renowned for its silver screen productions tailored to a younger audience, on the small screen, the company has come up with much more serious shows – Luke Cage is such an example.
In Luke Cage, which can be found on Netflix, there is a vaping shop called Beyond Vape, which the series’ characters can be found next to in episode six of the first season.
There are no in-your-face vaping scenes in the show, but its presence is more than enough. We’d much rather see a vape shop than a tobacco shop! And who knows? In the future, perhaps we’ll even see Cage himself blowing a big CBD vape additive cloud.
Billions (Season 1, Episode 2)
Billions on Showtime brought a weed vaporizer to the scene as an alternative for the characters, usually seen taking on a pipe or joint. There’s a cool moment in the second episode of season 1, where Malin Ackerman and Damian Lewis are captured enjoying a quick session on a Pax 2 vaporizer.
The spontaneity of the scene is what captured our attention. Instead of making the weed and vaping the highlight, it was just there in the background, almost as the two enjoyed a normal conversation. They could have been smoking a joint, a cigarette, or a pipe, and it would have come across the same.
Indeed, that’s really what we want to see when we talk about normalization. Ultimately, these TV shows aren’t about to weed or to Vape, so to make them, the focus would be unnatural. Yet subtly including CBD Juul pods and e-cigs without a fuss into shows will wonder to bring such equipment into the mainstream.
True Detective (Season 2, Episode 2)
Season 2 of True Detective came in for heavy criticism after failing to live up to a terrific first series. But there’s a cracking little segment in the second episode of season 2, which concentrates on vaping. Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) are two cops brought together to work on a murder case when the topic of e-cigarettes comes up.
Ani is a vaper, whereas Ray prefers to smoke cigarettes. Despite traditional smoking generally being considered a “cooler” act than vaping, Ray admires how Ani tokes on her e-cigarette and compliments her with the line, “You know you pull off that e-cig. Not a lot of people do.”
McAdams’ character doesn’t seem to have much interest in engaging in an e-cigarette discussion, yet undeterred, Ray continues! He said that he couldn’t get to grips with e-cigarettes and that he wasn’t keen on the feel, quipping that it’s too similar to “sucking a robot’s dick.”
Ani doesn’t seem overly impressed by Ray and his comments but chooses to say nothing. But perhaps Ray’s words harmed her, as she wasn’t seen with an e-cigarette again in True Detective. Even worse, she was back on the normal cigarettes in episode five. Thanks for nothing, Ray!
The Simpsons (Season 26, Episode 20)
The Simpsons have been on televisions across the world for decades, and there’s perhaps no more popular cartoon than this one from Matt Groening. That vaping made it onto The Simpsons should be filling us with the joy given that the show’s creators have a reputation for always showing both sides to a social argument. But instead, they chose a safe route with vaping, choosing to mock it and draw on pre-held notions.
Vaping appeared on The Simpsons in 2015 in the 26th season, and every character could be seen trying it out (even Maggie, the baby). This got alarm bells ringing straight away as one of the biggest concerns with vaping right now is that it could be appealing to children, so to have kids and even a baby in the show vaping (whether it’s a cartoon or not) is sending out the wrong message.
Then The Simpsons took a direct jab at flavored e-liquids and kids with Apu trying to convince Bart to buy some by warning him that they aren’t for children before taking him through vape oil flavors. There was nothing on the show about how vaping helped former smokers quit, and this lack of balance felt unfair.