Netflix Sides With Narcs, Risks Alienating Key Teen Juul Demo

Illustration for article titled Netflix Sides With Narcs, Risks Alienating Key Teen Juul Demo
Screenshot: Netflix

Netflix will no longer feature e-cigarettes or analog cigarettes in its streaming content with impunity, following some backlash from a bunch of no-fun havers over the all the cigarettes in Stranger Things.


CNN reports that anti-tobacco advocacy group the Truth Initiative found that Netflix shows featured images of tobacco more often than broadcast shows, presumably now that Mad Men—a show whose existence essentially hinged on the existence of cigarettes—is off the air. Stranger Things was a major offender, with the Truth Initiative finding 262 tobacco depictions in its second season, up from 182 in the first season.

Netflix says that they’re taking the report seriously, since, all jokes aside, smoking is extremely bad for you, and studies show kids tend to smoke more when they see cigarettes and other tobacco products depicted on screen. “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 spokesperson told CNN in a statement. Shows for adults will only feature smoking if “it’s essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it’s character-defining (historically or culturally important).”

Of course, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person without a cigarette in their hand from, say, 1760 to 2002, historically speaking, so it’s hard to know what Netflix will count in the “historically important” category. Not to mention that in today’s world, people Juul practically as often as they drink water, though it would be pretty boring to watch a show about someone eternally on the hunt for a USB port at the bar. Or is it genius? Netflix, hit me up.




Stranger Things hardly glamorizes smoking. The two main people that do it are Hopper and Joyce, and it is very evident that they do it out of stress. It’s shown in the same light that Hopper guzzling beer and pills and Joyce being a little unhinged is. No one would ever watch those characters smoke and think “oh yea, that’s cool.”

Also, the idea that you can make a movie/ show set in any time between about 1560 and 1997 and not have anyone smoke is kind of ridiculous. They used to allow smoking in hospitals and on airplanes, that’s how ubiquitous it was! You can show it without promoting it, and I think Stranger Things does that pretty well. Considering that their dedication to getting the “feel” right on that show is a major source of it’s success it would be downright weird for no one to be smoking.