Netflix to Cut Down on Smoking After ‘Stranger Things’ Leads Tobacco Use Study

July 8, 2019
Popcorns and a tablet computer with the Netflix homepage in its screen. The provider of streaming movies and TV series was launched in Spain on October 2015

© Juan Moyano |


Less than a week after the release of Stranger Things 3, Netflix has pledged to cut down on the amount of smoking seen in their original programming following outcry from an anti-smoking organization.

Netflix has responded to a new report that found its depictions of smoking tripled last year by pledging to eliminate smoking in all TV programming rated TV-14 and below or PG-13 and under for movies. “Stranger Things,” the streamer’s most popular show, was is singled out in the report as one of the top three offenders in onscreen portrayals of cigarette smoking. The other two  programs called out were “Orange Is the New Black” and “Fuller House,” oddly enough.

A Netflix spokesperson said, “Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people. 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.”

The report was commissioned by anti-tobacco watchdog group The Truth Initiative, which points to multiple findings that young people are much more likely to start smoking if they see their favorite characters doing it on TV.

According to the Surgeon General, people with more exposure to tobacco in movies are twice as likely to begin smoking compared to those with less exposure. For the second year in a row, Netflix was named the worst offender, with its depictions of tobacco use nearly tripling in the last year.

I guess we will have to wait and see how they change it up for Stranger Things!