The Ridiculous Anti-Vaping Propaganda in Amazon’s UPLOAD

Amazon UPLOAD Screenshot of the Vape Ward
Welcome to the Vape Ward: Amazon Prime's New TV Show UPLOAD is filled with false vaping propaganda.

Welcome to the Vape Ward: Amazon Prime’s New TV Show UPLOAD Is Filled with False Anti-Vaping Propaganda

Welcome to the Vape Ward. Amazon Prime’s latest show, UPLOAD, is a sci-fi series set in the year 2033 where classism, capitalism and the afterlife entwine.

The series makes several predictions about where current technology will develop over the next decade, from uploading yourself to the afterlife to being diagnosed with so-called vaper’s lung.

Obviously, UPLOAD is a fictional story and not a factual documentary. However, there is a clear anti-vaping theme in the series, with several references that include baseless myths and harmful tropes about vaping that will discourage current smokers from giving up cigarettes.

Examples of Anti-Vaping Propaganda in UPLOAD

"He thought vaping was safer than smoking.

But then all the studies came out..."

Nora discussing her father in UPLOAD Tweet

Without delving into plot details, a character called Nora creates avatars for people in the “digital afterlife”.

During one scene, Nora mentions that her father has lung disease caused by vaping, or as they call it, “vaper’s lung”.

In another scene, we also see one of the characters being wheeled through hospital corridors, with a sign on the wall indicating there is a “Vape Ward” in the hospital.

Referring to her father later in the series, Nora also says “he thought vaping was safer than smoking”, before adding “but then all the studies came out…”

Nathan and Nora in Amazon's New TV Show UPLOAD
Nathan and Nora in Amazon's New TV Show UPLOAD

Well, Nora, you’re ten years too late. The studies have already come out, and they show that vaping is clearly safer than smoking.

Public Health England already states that “there is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping”.

Which is why 2.7 million former smokers have managed to quit using vaping as an alternative in the UK alone.

In fact, in the UK the NHS has said that it may start prescribing e-cigs as part of its national stop smoking campaign in order to encourage more people to quit cigarettes.

Reactions to the anti-vape propaganda in UPLOAD

Some viewers took to social media to express their confusion over the inclusion of anti-vaping propaganda throughout Amazon’s UPLOAD TV series.

One user took to Twitter to mock the use of the term “vape lung” calling it a “made up, gibberish term.”

Others on Reddit said that though they could look past it, “that whole anti-vape thing kinda p**ses me off.”

Will UPLOAD discourage smokers from trying vaping to help quit cigarettes?

False information and propaganda is not new to the vaping industry.

However, after over a decade of progress, strict regulation and in-depth studies on vaping, we now know that vaping is much safer than smoking and is an effective way to help smokers successfully quit.

Yet repeating false messaging like “vape lung” in UPLOAD can have dangerous consequences for smokers, by promoting baseless myths and discouraging smokers from switching to a safer alternative.

Of course, UPLOAD is a fictional series, but the over the top and ridiculous anti-vaping messaging in the series only adds to the false narrative that vaping is more dangerous than smoking.

Have you seen the trailer for Amazon's new TV show UPLOAD?

“Vape lung was a joke. It wasn’t real.”

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, actor Kevin Bigley (who plays Luke Crossley in the series, made some interesting comments about the director’s inclusion of anti-vaping messaging.

Speaking about the director Greg Daniels (who created the show Parks & Recreation), Bigley says “He looked at a lot of technological news and then thought where it might be in over a decade. In doing so, a lot of (what) he was thinking and writing about came true.”

Actor Kevin Bigley Plays Luke Crossley in UPLOAD, Image from the Chicago Tribune
Actor Kevin Bigley Plays Luke Crossley in Amazon's UPLOAD. Image from the Chicago Tribune

“When we were doing this show and read the first iteration of the script, vape lung was a joke. It wasn’t real.

My character loses his legs in a fictitious war with Iran and when we were about to go to war with Iran, I sent Greg an email saying: ‘What kind of futuristic dreams are you having?’”

He tries to link the director’s apparent ability to accurately predict the future with the anti-vaping propaganda in UPLOAD. 

He says that when the series was first written, so-called “vape lung” wasn’t real, whilst implying that it has since become a real phenomenon. Which is not true.

Vaping does not cause “vape lung” (popcorn lung)

Vape lung is not a phenomenon linked to vaping. Often referred to as “popcorn lung”, as it was first reported by workers in a popcorn factory, vape lung refers to the serious lung condition bronchiolitis obliterans.

In actual fact, the cause of this lung damage was the chemical Diacetyl, which is a banned substance in e-liquids and cigarettes in the UK, a fact supported by the UK Health Security Agency.

Vaping itself does not cause popcorn lung. Yet you wouldn’t know that having watched Amazon’s UPLOAD. You’d probably think that using e-cigarettes will mean a trip to the Vape Ward.

public health england why is vaping safer than smoking

Do you think the anti-vaping messaging in UPLOAD will lead to fewer people trying to quit cigarettes?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!