netflix pledges to cut back on cigarettes in their shows
No smoking, pls.
From chain-smoking time traveller Nadia in Russian Doll, to frazzled single mom Joyce Byers rarely seen without a pack in her shaking hands in Stranger Things, it goes without saying that Netflix’s characters love to smoke. But the appearance of cigarettes in their top shows is something the streaming giant is now cracking down on.
After a new study showed that Netflix’s award-winning Stranger Things was among the worst offenders for showing smoking on screen to potentially vulnerable youth audiences, Netflix is vowing to curtail the appearance of cigarettes on screen in all its new projects.
Research from the Truth Initiative found 1,209 “tobacco depictions” on TV shows between 2016-2017, and a mammoth 866 of those depictions came from Netflix (292 on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 262 on Stranger Things and 233 on Orange Is The New Black). The survey looked at shows that were among the most popular with young people (aged between 15 and 24), making their findings all the more important. The report goes on to say that exposure to tobacco use in media is responsible for 37% of young people who take up the habit.
Now, Netflix is responding to the research by changing their ways (mostly). In a statement to Variety, Netflix pledged to make all their programming aimed at young people -- anything with a rating below PG-13 or TV-14 -- smoking and e-cigarette free, “except for reasons of historical and factual accuracy”. Meanwhile, for their content aimed at older viewers, there will be no smoking or e-cigarette use unless it’s essential to the creative vision of the artist creating the show, or because it’s “character-defining”.
"We also recognise that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people,” Netflix added. Hear hear.