January 10, 2018

California Will Pay Kids to Vape in Propaganda Videos

Are you 13 years old? Or a blue collar worker? Are you sober? Would you be willing to work 10-12 hours breathing secondhand smoke? How about vaping on camera?

You can be a star, baby!

A Los Angeles casting company is looking for actors to star in new anti-vaping ads being produced by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), probably as part of the agency’s Still Blowing Smoke campaign.

An ad found on Facebook describes exactly who they’re looking for:


Previous CDPH ads, and the Still Blowing Smoke website, have been filled with images of young teenagers vaping, and even smoking — along with deceptive and dishonest misrepresentations of the scientific and policy debates around vaping. Still Blowing Smoke is an all-out attack on vaping, and though it’s supposedly aimed at preventing teen uptake, the relentless negativity and lies almost certainly convince lots of adult smokers to stick with combustibles.

The agency’s ads are frequently seen on TV in California, which would be surprising (because of the cost of TV advertising in the wealthiest U.S. state) if the ad campaign wasn’t backed by a $75 million grant from the CDPH’s California Tobacco Control Program.

Yes, that’s $75 million for anti-vaping propaganda. The California Tobacco Control Program also runs the Tobacco Free CA website, which has its own set of anti-vaping ads. Anti-vaping deception from the state of California is as common as wildfires and as thick as a mudslide.

(Still Blowing Smoke is the anti-vaping campaign that was brilliantly pre-empted and hijacked by Stefan Didak and Jason Downing, who found the original launch materials (not very well hidden online) and in one caffeine-fueled weekend created Not Blowing Smoke, a virtual mirror of the state-run site, but full of positive vaping messages and material skewering the expensive state-run campaign. Not Blowing Smoke has since morphed into an advocacy organization.)

fb message for a cast

Glendale-based Tiffany Company Casting has also reached out directly to vaping businesses, asking for help finding vape tricksters for the ads. Maybe they’ll replace some footage of the “real blue collar workers” with vape tricks. Or maybe they’re going to ask the tricksters to teach the “13-year-old girl friends” to blow vape rings.

John Cavanaugh, CEO of Vaping Industries, was surprised this week by a Facebook message from someone named Kellyanne O’Callaghan, who described herself as a Casting Associate at Tiffany Company Casting. Cavanaugh didn’t know her.

O’Callaghan was looking for people able to perform vape tricks, and asked for Cavanaugh’s help. Describing videos she had seen online of “some pretty amazing talented guys blowing vape rings and such” in one of Cavanaugh’s Costa Mesa vape shops, she wondered if he could connect her with some of the vapers. “We would LOVE to have them audition for our project,” she gushed.

She described the compensation for those who take part in the video shoots, and asked if he could set up Skype interviews with some of the vapers. Cavanaugh said he checked her profile on Facebook and found a post that included an ad for “the project.” Her description of the photoshoot described it as a “Very poignant and important message.”


Apparently, it’s poignant to lie to smokers about a possible alternative that could save their lives. Note that she left those words out of her direct message to Cavanaugh — and also failed to mention that the ads would be used to misinform the public about vaping. Then again, she may not have known. Cavanaugh shot her down immediately — but she may be able to con another less sharp vape shop owner.

O’Callaghan’s Facebook post describes the photoshoot as a “non-union project,” which seems like a big no-no for the pro-union California tobacco control industry. (Unions helped tobacco control get a massive cigarette tax hike passed as part of the state’s 2016 Prop 56 vote.) But maybe they’re getting cheap as the $75 million well starts to dry. Perhaps members of some of the many Los Angeles-area film and TV unions will picket the shoot.

What kind of vapers would knowingly take part in ads used to demonize the very thing that saved their lives? We’ll find out soon. And, even more interesting, what kind of parent is such a stage mother (or father) that they would allow their 13-year-old to take this job? I suppose we should never be shocked by what people will do for a few dollars.

As the country’s largest state ramps up its war on e-liquid flavors — deliberately confusing vapes with actual tobacco products like little cigars — Californians can expect to see the lies flowing freely. And, as with all things in California, the rest of the country can expect the trend to move east.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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Also, in all honesty, who gives a fuck if the next generation is the generation that never smokes but uses vaporized nicotine. I’m absolutely on the pro liberty side of recreational drug use, and nicotine falls into that category. Is it so awful that someone might prefer to use nicotine over a more socially excepted substance?


Frankly if we taxed tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, other recreational drugs, and horribly unhealthy foods, then used that money to help give all USA residents Healthcare I would support it. But taxing vaping is not something I support. I quit a 16 year smoking habit cold turkey by using a vaporizer.


isnt it illegal for anyone under 18 to buy or use any tobacco product including vaporizers? and if so wouldnt the company face legal charges over it?

Jim McDonald

Doubtful, since they’re operating on behalf of the state, and not actually *selling* a product.


Ugh I immediately thought of that South Park episode with Rob Reiner – he makes an anti smoking ad with Cartman saying he has cancer then tries to kill him after to make the tobacco industry look bad. It’s the same damn thing but with vaping instead. Proves how absolutely ridiculous the whole thing is.


I think that vaping may lead to the end of the Anti-Smoking Lobby and it’s not that the vapers or the industry is doing anything to fight the against the anti-smoking lobby or that vaping will lead to the end of traditional smoking it’s that the anti-smoking lobby are getting so damn blatant with their lies and corruption that lead scientists and politicians are speaking out against their views.

Want to save lives? Stop the lies.

So why do they do it? It’s all about the money and their personal ideology, they don’t care about whats best for public health only their ideals (cessation only) and how padded their bank accounts are, I could live for a lifetime off of what some of these people make in 1 or 2 years.

People like nicotine, it’s a fact, it’s a stimulant people enjoy and cessation of something you really enjoy is irrelevant, better to move to a cleaner delivery mechanism that we still enjoy and reduce exposure to toxins which is something people that are pro cessation only will never understand.


I think that vaping may lead to the end of the Anti-Smoking Lobby and
it’s not that the vapers or the industry is doing anything to fight the
against the anti-smoking lobby or that vaping will lead to the end of
traditional smoking it’s that the anti-smoking lobby are getting so damn
blatant with their lies and corruption that lead scientists and
politicians are speaking out against their views.

Want to save lives? Stop the lies.


I can’t believe the state I live in, the state that just legalized marijuana with this new year, is still going after the vape community in such a tasteless fashion. This just goes to show how much influence, well, lets be real, how much money, tobacco lobbyist have to bribe politicians to use and create such false propaganda about vaping. Shame on you California!

Jim McDonald

Sadly, it’s not coming from the tobacco lobby, but from the friends of tobacco control: pharma, wellness, managed care, medical associations, and essentially the whole healthcare system.


Instead of the truth, which is that vaping leads away from smoking, they keep reiterating the opposite. Smokers might well believe they’d be wasting their time vaping and curious teens may think they might as well just go directly to smoking. It puts the idea of smoking into their heads and that the cool kids are doing it. They need to retain as many smokers as possible and to ensure a new generation of smokers in order to protect the billions of dollars from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and billions more from cigarette taxes, all of which pays for their funding and their expensive mortgages, not to mention an army of thousands of activists and researchers working under the Tobacco Control Industry umbrella who all rely on this highly lucrative gravy train. Instead of protecting their jobs, Public Health who are hostile to vaping, despite the growing evidence for it, should be losing them. California are one of the States who sold most of their MSA tobacco bonds for little in return, a really bad decision and now they need as much money from smoking as they can get ….. something vaping doesn’t provide. #itsneverbeenabouthealth

Jim McDonald

Right on every point.


Unbelievable. While the government in the UK encourages people to vape and looks set to become more profound.

Jim McDonald
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