As a result, Netflix has vowed to reduce the amount of airtime smoking scenes have in its shows, such as Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things and House of Cards. These shows are most popular with 15-to-24-year-olds and were compared with similarly popular programs on U.S. TV and cable by the tobacco-free campaign group Truth Initiative.
Netflix has said in a statement that smoking will only be featured in programs aimed at young people for “reasons of historical or factual accuracy.” It added that it “strongly supports artistic expression” and that in some cases, smoking will be shown if “it’s essential to the creative vision of the artist or character-defining”. In its statement, Netflix noted that it “also recognizes that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people.”
Truth Initiative’s report, which also looked at the likes of Amazon Prime, found that “smoking on the small screen has gone from common to nearly unavoidable… While smoking in TV programs has not been studied as extensively as tobacco imagery in movies, it is reasonable to conclude a similar harmful impact is possible.”
Concluding its report, Truth Initiative reported that in series’ such as the ones mentioned above, as well as Fuller House and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, depictions of tobacco use increased from the 2015-16 seasons to the 2016-17 seasons.
In other news, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has returned to Netflix in the UK and Ireland.