February 24, 2020

Netflix and the Crusade Against On-Air Smoking

“Hundreds of thousands of fans anticipated the release of Stranger Things 3 last week, but not everyone was happy about the show’s new season.

The Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco organization, recently released a report showing that Netflix’s depictions of smoking tripled last year. Among the culprits were Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and Fuller House.

Now, Netflix has pledged to cut down on smoking in its more family-friendly shows.

“Going forward, all new projects that we commission with ratings of TV-14 or below for series or PG-13 or below for films, will be smoking and e-cigarette free — except for reasons of historical or factual accuracy,” a Netflix spokesperson told Entertainment Weekly in a statement. “For new projects with higher ratings, there’ll be no smoking or e-cigarettes unless it’s essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it’s character-defining (historically or culturally important).”

The problem with shows such as Stranger Things, House of Cards, and even Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, according to Truth Initiative, is that their “tobacco imagery” might inspire imitations.”

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