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Leonardo DiCaprio criticised by American Lung Association for vaping at SAG awards

US health authorities are unimpressed with the actor for vaping, but UK opinion on the habit is more divided

Olivia Blair
Wednesday 03 February 2016 16:16 GMT
DiCaprio won Best Actor at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
DiCaprio won Best Actor at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Turner)

When Leonardo DiCaprio attended the SAG awards over the weekend it wasn’t his Best Actor win that made headlines the next day, it was his vape pen.

The Revenant actor has been criticised for his habit by the American Lung Association, who told TMZ DiCaprio smoking the e-cigarette was “deeply troubling”. The association’s website says the pens are not regulated by the FDA in the US so they are concerned about their “potential health consequences”. It also claims that some e-cigarettes may contain carcinogenic chemicals.

Using an e-cigarette in the majority of public places in Los Angeles like restaurants and bars is also illegal, although, as TMZ points out, this doesn’t seem to extend to “theatrical production sites”.

The attention DiCaprio’s vaping received following Saturday’s awards ceremony is surprising given the actor has been spotted puffing on an e-cigarette before, namely at the Golden Globes in 2014 and the French Open in 2013.

E-cigarettes are a controversial topic in the UK but last year Public Health England deemed them “95 per cent less harmful than tobacco”.

Dr Penny Woods the Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, told the Independent: “We support vaping as a means of helping people quit the far most harmful practice of smoking if they’ve tried other means and haven’t been successful.

“Given half of long-term smokers die as a result of their habit, using vaping to help someone quit smoking could save their life.

“However, although vaping is much less harmful than smoking, that doesn’t make it harmless and it is still not advisable for non-smokers. More research needs to be done into the long-term health impacts that vaping may have.”

DiCaprio won the SAG accolade for his portrayal of Hugh Glass in The Revenant and is widely tipped for Oscar success at the end of the month.

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