Netflix Vows to Reduce Onscreen Smoking After Group Blasts 'Stranger Things'
Published Jul 03, 2019Netflix has pledged to butt out onscreen smoking in upcoming original films and TV series following a damning report that lists Stranger Things as the worst offender.
The decision comes after a new report from Truth Initiative, which found depictions of tobacco use had increased by a whopping 176 percent overall and by 379 percent in youth-rated programs.
Furthermore, the report has placed Stranger Things as the worst offender for portraying onscreen cigarettes for a second year in a row.
According to the report, Stranger Things went from 182 tobacco depictions in Season 1 to 262 tobacco depictions in Season 2, and tobacco appeared in every single episode.
Netflix is once again the most smoke-happy network and is also the most commonly watched streaming service among viewers aged 15 to 24. In Netflix programs alone, the number of tobacco incidents nearly tripled to 866 compared to 2018's 299 incidents.
Going forward, Netflix now claims new original shows with TV-14 ratings or below (and films PG-13 or below) will not portray smoking and e-cigarette use unless necessary for "reasons of historical or factual accuracy."
Higher-rated programming will also cut down on tobacco use "unless it's essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it's character-defining."
Additionally, instances of tobacco use will be included in the rating system.
"Netflix strongly supports artistic expression," a rep for the streaming service told Variety. "We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people."
Season 3 of Stranger Things premieres tomorrow (July 4). Read our interview with Stranger Things stars Cary Elwes and Dacre Montgomery.