The top acting and directing Oscar nominees received gift bags worth more than $225,000, which included tickets to a 12-day yacht excursion, facial rejuvenation treatments, matchmaking services, and a 24-carat gold-plated vape pen inspired by nominee Leonardo DiCaprio.
DiCaprio, who was nominated for Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” has been seen several times through the years using a vape pen, including on the 2016 SAG Awards red carpet and out and about in New York City.
Lash Fary, founder of Distinctive Assets, the Los Angeles-based company that puts together the goodie baskets, told Reuters that DiCaprio was, in fact, the inspiration for the pricey vape device.
“This is a business endeavor,” Fary told Reuters. “This is about the promotion. This is about products connecting their services and their wares with the biggest trendsetters in the world.”
While the gift bags contain many extravagances, they also include more than a dozen products with a philanthropic approach, including a book that empowers young girls and a cleanser that benefits showers for the homeless. The idea behind the bag is to say “Thank you” for the actors and directors’ great work as well as enabling companies to put their brand-names directly in the hands of celebrities in hopes of influencing consumers.
But including a vape pen in the goodie bags raises serious red flags among many who advocate against the health risks of vaping, and marketing these products to young people. Many teenagers look up to actors like DiCaprio and may think vaping is OK.
Major vape manufacturer JUUL is facing heat for its targeting of young consumers by putting its vape pens in the hands of social media influencers. Vaping among youth – teens and even tweens – has skyrocketed in recent years. Studies have found that vaping among high school students has doubled from 2017 to 2018 – the highest increase in smoking, drinking, and drug use ever recorded in the United States. This increase coincidentally coincided with JUUL’s appearance on the market with its sleekly designed vape pens, flavored e-liquids, and savvy social media ads.
Lawsuits filed against the vape giant say JUUL never warned youth or adults that its vapes contained nicotine — in many cases more highly addictive nicotine than a pack of cigarettes. Critics say the vape industry has essentially addicted a generation, reversing decades of public health efforts to warn consumers about the dangers of nicotine.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are handling cases involving injuries related to vaping. We are looking at cases involving adolescent addiction and injuries including seizures, strokes, lung problems, and cardiovascular problems related to the use of JUUL vaping devices. Beasley Allen also is representing school systems in their fight to combat the negative consequences of vaping among their student populations.