Golden Globes' sexy portrayal of e-cigarettes makes lawmakers smolder

Julia Louis Dreyfus smoking an e-cigarette during the Golden Globes dinner.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globes Awards, as seen on NBC

It was supposed to be a joke - a skit during the Golden Globes telecast showing actress Julia Louis Dreyfus puffing on a vaporized e-cigarette. In the skit, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler poked fun at Dreyfus, who was then shown looking very cool, in sunglasses, with e-cigarette in hand.

Some members of Congress, however, are not laughing, CBS News' Jan Crawford reports. They accuse the Golden Globes, which also showed actor Leonardo DiCaprio puffing on an e-cigarette during the broadcast, of glamorizing smoking.

"You're killing the next generation of fans in your movies," Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said on the Senate floor.

Are e-cigarettes dangerous?

 Four senators, including Durbin, fired off angry letters to NBC, which broadcast the show, and to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gave out the awards.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., was one of them. He said e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking.

"There's a reason that Big Tobacco companies are buying the e-cigarette manufacturers, and that is they see a way to induce young people," he said.

Jason Healy, president of the company that made the e-cigarette Dreyfus was smoking, said the accusations are unsupported and not founded in fact.

"It's like saying energy drinks are a gateway to meth," he said.

Trade industry representatives agree. "We understand and share the senators' concerns and are sensitive to imagery that glamorizes smoking," Phil Daman, president of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association, said in a statement, "however, vaporizing units like e-cigarettes are not tobacco products."

Blumenthal, meanwhile, remains steadfast in his opposition.

"E-cigarettes are nicotine-delivery devices," he said. "They have to be viewed, just as tobacco cigarettes are, as a means of delivering a drug - nicotine."