Netflix to cut down on smoking in programming following 'Stranger Things' criticism
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Netflix said it will cut down on depictions of smoking in its programming targeted toward young viewers.

The move follows a report pointing to frequent smoking in hit series “Stranger Things,” which featured tobacco in every episode of its first two seasons, CNN reports.

"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," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement, according to CNN.

Characters in future projects geared toward older audiences won’t use tobacco products “unless it’s essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it’s character-defining (historically or culturally important),” the statement added.

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But the new policy won’t affect existing shows, including “Stranger Things,” the outlet notes.

 

The announcement comes after the Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco nonprofit, said in its June 2019 report that Netflix programs display “much more tobacco than broadcast or cable,” with “Stranger Things” showing the most tobacco use overall.

Children and young adults with high exposure to tobacco imagery are twice as likely to start smoking than those who have less exposure, according to the Truth Initiative.

"Netflix strongly supports artistic expression," the streaming company said. "We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people."

Netflix will also start putting smoking information in the upper left hand corner’s rating box to advise those who watch a show, according to CNN.