Netflix to cut back smoking depiction
Depictions of tobacco have surged nearly fourfold in the past year in the most popular TV shows among young people -- and Netflix's "Stranger Things" season 2 was the worst offender, according to anti-smoking group Truth Initiative.
In response, Netflix said that all new shows it commissions with ratings of TV-14 or below (and all films rated PG-13 or below) will exclude smoking and e-cigarette use, except for "reasons of historical or factual accuracy."
The company also said new projects with higher ratings will not depict smoking or e-cigarette use "unless it's essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it's character-defining (historically or culturally important)."
"Netflix strongly supports artistic expression," a company spokesman said in a statement to Variety. "We also recognise that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people."
"Content has become the new tobacco commercial," Robin Koval, CEO/president of Truth Initiative, said in a statement. "We're seeing a pervasive reemergence of smoking imagery across screens that is glamorising and re-normalising a deadly addiction and putting young people squarely in the crosshairs of the tobacco industry."