Netflix Pledges To Cut Down In On-Screen Smoking, Following New Study

Stranger Things and Orange Is The New Black are among the worst offenders.

Netflix has revealed plans to cut back on scenes depicting cigarette use in their original shows, following a report claiming the streaming service has contributed to a rise in on-screen smoking.

A study by the US organisation Truth Initiative found that Netflix’s shows were among the worst offenders for scenes featuring smoking.

They particularly singled out Stranger Things, which recently returned for its third series, pointing out the show had as many as 182 instances of smoking in its first eight episodes, while its second season had 262.

David Harbour as Hopper in Stranger Things
David Harbour as Hopper in Stranger Things

In response, Netflix pledged not to show any more smoking in their original shows “unless it’s essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it’s character-defining (historically or culturally important)”.

They said: “Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognise that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people.

“While smoking in TV programmes has not been studied as extensively as tobacco imagery in movies, it is reasonable to conclude a similar harmful impact is possible.”

The Truth Initiative’s study also named Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards as other Netflix originals that repeatedly show smoking on screen, with the latter rising from 45 on-screen uses to 233 from one season to the next.

The cast of Orange Is The New Black
The cast of Orange Is The New Black
Paul Zimmerman via Getty Images

Netflix’s shows aren’t the only ones to face criticism for showing smoking on screen, with the early series of ITV2’s Love Island facing similar scrutiny.


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