At the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards last night, nominee Julia Louis-Dreyfus puffed an e-cigarette on camera.
I know this was part of one of the show’s comedy bits, but it made me wonder: Why does Hollywood continue to have a double standard when it comes to smoking?
According to the American Lung Association, 21.1 million women in the United States still smoke cigarettes. This is a huge problem from a national health perspective. We all know that smoking contributes to heart disease, pulmonary disease and complications during pregnancy. Furthermore, smoking kills an estimated 173,940 women in the United States every year.
In my opinion, e-cigarettes are not a good substitute for real cigarettes, because they still contain nicotine – which is highly addictive.
Numerous experts and studies have emphasized that more research needs to be done before e-cigarettes can be considered a ‘safe’ alternative to smoking real cigarettes. In fact, New York City recently banned electronic cigarettes in restaurants, city parks, bars and other places where smoking regular cigarettes is already prohibited.
I know Hollywood stars always want to promote healthy lifestyles and different “health” products, but promoting e-cigarettes as being cool or trendy is setting a poor example.
Jenny McCarthy is another celebrity known to promote e-cigarettes. In her commercial for a product called blu eCigs, McCarthy wears a skimpy dress while touting the ability of e-cigarettes to help her pick up men and feel less guilty about her smoking habit. What McCarthy probably doesn’t know is that there is zero evidence as to the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.
Many young people are easily influenced when it comes to picking up habits like smoking. Actors must maintain some degree of social responsibility if they want to be famous and stop promoting products that could be dangerous to the public.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.