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Film and television have long been mirrors that reflect societal trends and movements. As the culture around vaping has blossomed, it’s no surprise that this phenomenon has found its way onto the silver screen and into our living rooms through various TV shows.

In this digital age, where convenience meets compliance, viewers might even catch characters discreetly ordering legal vaping products online, seamlessly integrating this modern habit into the fabric of fictional narratives.

Below, we explore five instances where vaping culture has been depicted in contemporary movies and TV series.

“A Billion Lives” (2016)

This documentary stands out for its exploration of vaping as a cultural and social phenomenon. Directed by Aaron Biebert, “A Billion Lives” isn’t fictional but offers a rare, in-depth look into the vaping community, presenting it as a burgeoning culture that’s more than just a fad or a symbol of rebellion.

It provides a platform for advocates and enthusiasts to share their experiences and perspectives, positioning vaping as part of a larger conversation about choice, community, and innovation.

While not a Hollywood blockbuster or a primetime TV hit, its cultural resonance among the vaping community is significant. This offers a lens through which non-vapers can understand the allure and camaraderie found within this subculture.

“Sense8” (TV Series, 2015-2018)

Netflix’s “Sense8” provides a subtle nod to vape culture through the character of Sun Bak who is played by Doona Bae.

In a few scenes, Sun is seen using a vape, which aligns with her character’s contemporary and urban lifestyle. The show doesn’t make a big deal about it, which in itself is telling; vaping is presented as just another part of modern living, much like using a smartphone or riding a shared bike.

By integrating vaping into the background of character development, “Sense8” normalizes the activity, reflecting its place in real-world social settings.

“Vape” (2016)

This short film directed by Doron Max Hagay takes a comedic look at the world of vaping.

“Vape” centers around a woman who immerses herself in vape culture after inheriting her brother’s vape shop.

The film doesn’t dive deeply into the intricacies of vaping but instead uses the backdrop of the vape shop to explore personal relationships and self-discovery.

Moreover, it portrays vape culture as a unique and distinct community with its own set of norms and customs, providing an insightful albeit humorous window into this world.

“House of Cards” (TV Series, 2013-2018)

In “House of Cards,” the lead character, Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is seen using a vaporizer. This inclusion in a critically acclaimed political thriller is particularly noteworthy because it associates vaping with a character who is complex and powerful.

The choice to show Underwood vaping rather than smoking traditional cigarettes serves a dual purpose: it underscores his control over his image and his self-discipline, while also marking him as someone in step with technological and societal shifts.

The portrayal is sleek and discreet, mirroring the show’s tone and Underwood’s enigmatic persona.

“The Tourist” (2022)

In “The Tourist,” Jamie Dornan’s character is seen vaping, which becomes a part of his mysterious allure. The portrayal here is different from others because it isn’t just a character trait; it’s part of the enigma that surrounds his persona.

His use of a vape pen adds a layer to his already complex narrative, signifying a modern edge and perhaps a hint of stress relief amidst the chaos. The inclusion of vaping in this thriller series is a testament to its broad acceptance and integration into the habits of contemporary characters.

man wearing black t-shirt exhaling smoke in the dark

The Key Takeaway

In these portrayals, vaping is not glorified nor vilified but rather presented as a fact of life, a personal choice, and a marker of identity for certain characters.

The significance of these portrayals lies not only in their impact on viewers but also in their contribution to the ongoing narrative of vaping culture. By representing vaping in various lights—from a casual puff in a TV show to the centerpiece of a film—these depictions acknowledge the multifaceted nature of vaping as both a personal choice and a cultural phenomenon.

These on-screen moments are just a snapshot of how vaping has permeated the entertainment industry.

As vape culture continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly find new expressions and representations in the stories we watch, further cementing its role in the tapestry of modern culture.

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