The Vaporizing of Big Tobacco

As a journalist, I get a lot of press releases. Most of them come from people who have done a bit of research and know that I cover health. But there are others that are kind of random, like the one I received not that long ago from Sarah, the community manager for Ophis, “the premier luxurious electronic cigarette,” which, she wanted me to know, was “the new must have fashion accessory for 2014.”

I am not sure how Sarah got my name. Maybe it was because I had recently written a P-15-Blu-E-Cig-Ad-250x359-WEBshort piece for Cancer Today P-15-Marlborough-250x335-WEBhighlighting the advertising tactics used by e-cigarette companies and the ways in which they echo cigarette ad campaigns from years past.

(You can see more at Stanford Research Into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising.)

Maybe she saw my article on the graphic health warnings the FDA was hoping to force tobacco P11-3D-Cigarettes-200x225-WEBmanufacturers to put on cigarette packages in the U.S. Or the one I wrote on the graphic plain packaging now required in Australia.

Then again, it could have been my article about Yul Brynner and his haunting anti-smoking PSA, which ran on television stations worldwide within days of his death from lung cancer in 1985.

She might also have known that I had recently assigned and edited  articles for Cancer Today on the controversy over e-cigarettes.

Sarah’s press release included some “cool facts” about Ophis and “its stylish look and appeal.” She also said this:


An article from you = a discount on

We will also promote your post and give your blog the opportunity of reaching a new audience of 1.3K fans on our Facebook page, 9.3K on Twitter, and 300 daily visitors on

I look forward to hearing back from you. Please contact me for more information on Media Inquiry at

Of course, no journalist of any merit would publish something on a blog hoping to get a discount on a product. But feel free to let Sarah know that you saw my post.

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