Depictions of tobacco in the most popular TV series among young people surged almost fourfold in the past year according to a new report from anti-smoking group Truth Initiative.
The biggest offender was Netflix’s second season of “Stranger Things” and, in response, Netflix says going forward all new shows it commissions with ratings of TV-14 or below will exclude smoking and e-cigarette use.
The same rule will apply for all films rated PG-13 or below, though exceptions will be made for “reasons of historical or factual accuracy”.
In addition, 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)”.
A company spokesman says in a statement: “Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people.”
Netflix isn’t the only one though as the study found 12 of the 13 television shows most popular with the 15-24 demographic show smoking prominently including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “American Horror Story” and “Modern Family”.