The streaming service NETFLIX was recently criticized for its depiction of Tobacco in its shows and movies. The Truth Initiative has found 866 instances where smoking was present on Netflix so far in 2019. This is nearly triple the number of samples from last year’s 299 cases.
Stranger Things’ third season was the most vocally criticized. Even though the show is targeted at a more mature crowd, young people still watch Stranger Things. The majority of the cast members are teens themselves.
NETFLIX HAS RELEASED A STATEMENT stating,
Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. Smoking is harmful, and if it’s portrayed in a positive light on screen, this can negatively influence youth. All new projects we commission in the future with TV-14 or lower ratings for series or PG-13 for films are free of smoking or e-cigarettes, except when historical or factual accuracy is required. Smoking or e-cigarettes will not be allowed in new projects that have higher ratings unless they are essential to the artistic vision of the creator or character-defining. Starting later this year, Netflix will include smoking information in its ratings so that our members can make an informed choice about what they watch.
Netflix has a very strong stance. Netflix is one of the biggest streaming services on the planet. Will this influence the way the entertainment industry has operated since the dawn of film?
SMOKING ON A BIG SCREEN OR SMALL SCREEN HAS DONE SOMETHING.
Smoking advertisements, especially in movies, were common in the past before tobacco companies had to adhere to any regulations.
Sometimes, the cigarette smoke in a scene is intentional. It was added to show an action or impose a mood.
Smoking can give an actor a rebellious, cool look. Sometimes, it was used to emphasize the masculinity and power of the main character. Cigarettes were also used to represent sex. It was the era of black-and-white movies, so censorship laws were very strict. At the time, a couple was not allowed to be in the same bed. So, cigarettes were used in movies to sexualize the scene.
Smoking was made cool by filmmakers. It worked. Cool characters, like James Bond and half of Pulp Fiction’s cast, smoked cigarettes. Movie stars made smoking look cool. It reinforced the rebellious, edgy persona of the main character.
The problem is that cigarettes were cool.
Big Tobacco was well aware of this and paid a high price to feature their product in films. Brown and Williamson made a deal with Sylvester Stallone, offering him $500,000 for him to smoke cigarettes in five films. This is about 152,000 dollars today. Sly was at his peak in the 1980s.
The blatant cigarette advertisement doesn’t stop at over-the-top action movies.
In the 1970s and 1980s, tobacco companies also made sure to place their products in movies for families. Phillip Morris cigarettes were used in the films Grease, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and The Muppet Movie.
The Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 prohibited tobacco companies from paying filmmakers for advertising their products. However, this does not mean that smoking in films has stopped.
According to statistics pulled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 56% of PG-13 films released between 2002 and 2018 contained some form of tobacco use.
It is not limited to smoking.
As the popularity of e-cigarettes grows, so does the amount of media that contains vaping.
The HBO series Euphoria, produced by Toronto Raptors superfan Drake, is about a drug-addicted teenager who struggles to remain sober. The show also contains many vaping instances.
There is zero chance that Juul Ru, less, or any other major players in the e-cigarette industry paid for the product placement on the show. This would be illegal and unethical.
Is this outcry of smoking in entertainment a reaction to the mass media surrounding the teen vaping controversy?
Why do shows and movies promote it themselves if it’s immoral to advertise to minors? The media seems to want to reinforce stereotypes,without knowing what the consequences could be.
Smoking in movies and TV shows is not always for nefarious purposes. It can be for artistic reasons. There is a film that’s about the marketing of cigarettes and the industry, but not one person smokes even a cigarette.
Thank You for Not Smoking. It is a movie that is entirely about cigarettes and does not contain a single puff. A film about the tobacco industry has taken an interesting turn. There is no way to make a movie without being deliberate.
Films have a great influence on society.
Children and adults alike often emulate characters and heroes they see on screen. The many depictions of smoking on screen may have influenced young viewers to smoke.
Netflix made a wise decision by taking a stand and keeping Tobacco out of the reach of youths.
Studies show that movies influence youth smoking rates. Adults can be unbiased. Studies have shown that films affect youth smoking rates.
It is not necessary to remove smoking from movies. The viewers should still be informed if the film contains it. Parents and guardians would appreciate this. They don’t want to see their children’s media-saturated with smoke.
Netflix’s move should be applauded because it is not acceptable to glorify tobacco use.