Netflix promises to cut back on depictions of smoking after Stranger Things report
In the wake of Stranger Things season 3, Netflix is promising that it will depict smoking less often in future programming.
Just before new episodes of the hit horror-adventure show landed on the streaming platform this holiday week, the anti-smoking group Truth Initiative released a report saying that Netflix depicted tobacco use more often than even broadcast or cable shows, and Stranger Things was one of the biggest offenders. “The popularity of streaming combined with the pervasive rise of smoking in episodic content points to an emerging threat to a new generation of young Americans,” the report reads. Truth Initiative tracked not just instances of smoking, but any appearance of tobacco products.
Netflix’s response is a pledge to more closely monitor its content aimed at young viewers. In a statement to EW, the streaming service laid out the specific actions it will take to inform and protect viewers of the dangers of smoking.
“Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people,” a Netflix spokesperson told EW in a statement. “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. 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). In addition, starting later this year, smoking information will be included as part of our ratings on the Netflix service so our members can make informed choices about what they watch.”
Read the Truth Initiative report here.
Netflix’s hit sci-fi series follows a group of kids in the '80s battling supernatural forces in Hawkins, Ind.