From Smoking to Vaping On the Big Screen

About six in every 10 PG-13 movies show smoking or tobacco use. On-screen smoking in PG-13 films has even doubled between 2010 and 2018. While there’s no denying that we see far less cigarette smoking on our screens, it’s still a common sight despite smoking losing its popularity due to its health implications.

Alongside smoking, we now see vaping appearing in more movies and TV shows. Sometimes, it adds to a character’s personality; other times, it’s random. If you’re curious about the movies depicting vaping, we’ve included a list of the most popular films and shows in this article.

Z Nation

If you regularly shop THC vapes, you’ll know how to spot vaping devices – even discreet ones. It would be hard to miss the vapes in the TV show Z Nation. This American horror series was relevant to today’s watchers in more ways than one. Alongside the show being about a virus decimating Earth’s population, it also showed characters vaping with advanced devices.

Typically, you’ll spot simple electronic cigarettes if you’re going to see vaping in any film. In Z Nation, the vape devices were advanced and akin to kits you’d buy today for dry vaping and e-liquids alike.

Dirty Grandpa

Dirty Grandpa is a 2016 American comedy movie about a grandfather tricking his grandson into driving him to Florida. Many misadventures ensue! While you might like the film for its hilarity, it could also pique your curiosity for the vaping scenes.

Zac Efron, playing the role of the grandson, Jason Kelly, can be seen vaping at a party. Rather than taking a few discreet puffs, Jason shows off his cloud-chasing skills. He produces massive vape clouds with what appears to be a sub-ohm vape with a low-resistance coil. Many movies depicting vaping show it as a private activity performed in the comfort of the characters’ homes. However, in Dirty Grandpa, it’s more of a party trick.

The Tourist

We know that vaping has become more commonplace in recent years. No matter where you look, you’ll see someone discreetly or openly vaping in a public place. Back in 2010, vaping was far less common. As a result, many people were surprised when they saw Johnny Depp’s character vaping in the 2010 romantic thriller The Tourist.

Johnny played the role of Frank Tupelo and was on his way to Europe to mend his broken heart. On his journey by train, he absentmindedly puffs on an electronic cigarette while reading a book. Given the year this movie was produced, the vaping device was entry-level. First-generation e-cigarettes like the one Frank used resembled tobacco cigarettes. They had battery parts to disconnect and recharge with a USB power charger.

Baby Driver

Baby Driver was a 2017 action/crime film following a former getaway driver wanting freedom from his life of crime. This popular film was a hit with action lovers but also triggered controversy. In one scene, the character Darling, played by Eiza Gonzalez, uses a pink e-cigarette. The goal was to make her appear more elegant and chic. It wasn’t a significant part of the movie, but it might have made some people curious about trying vaping.

Ingrid Goes West

Ingrid Goes West is a 2017 drama/comedy film with themes around social media and the seemingly perfect lifestyles it portrays. Dan Pinto, played by O’Shea Jackson Jr., is seen vaping throughout the movie. As his character is supposed to be charismatic, the vaping prop makes him look chilled and approachable.

House of Cards

Movie and TV show directors like to start new trends and do something other directors haven’t done before. The House of Cards director ticked that box. This 2013 TV show was one of the first to show an electronic smoking device.

Kevin Spacey, who plays the character Frank, was seen using a vaping device while trying to quit smoking. His wife caught him, and she thought he was still smoking until he told her it wasn’t cheating because it was vapor, not smoke. When many House of Cards fans who were part of the vaping community saw this scene, they were relieved that vaping was finally recognized as an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

2 Broke Girls

2 Broke Girls was a popular CBS comedy TV show that premiered in 2011. It ran for six seasons until 2017 and won an Emmy Award for art direction. In one particularly notable episode, diner customers were vaping at a table, and a series of vaping-related dialogue ensued.

Beth Behrs, playing the character of Caroline Channing, said, “Those e-cigs are so stupid. Smoking real cigarettes kills you, but smoking fake ones makes me want to kill you.” Kat Dennings, who plays the character Maxine ‘Max’ Black, corrected Caroline and said they weren’t smoking; they were vaping. When Max confronted the group of vapers and told them they weren’t allowed to vape in the diner, one of the vapers told her to relax because it wasn’t a cigarette since it had a battery.

Smoking is still popular in TV shows and films, but a more modern alternative is slowly overtaking it. The next time you watch a new movie or show, be on the lookout for vaping scenes. See if you can spot any devices you’re familiar with.


Ad Free