Netflix has vowed to cut back on how often it shows characters smoking in its original shows, following a report that says smoking on the small screen has become “nearly unavoidable.”

The report by US group The Truth Initiative entitled ‘While You Were Sleeping: Smoking on Demand’, found that Netflix shows depict more smoking imagery than those on broadcast or cable.

Researchers found that tobacco depictions in programmes on the popular streaming service had tripled since their report last year, which focused on Netflix’s 2015-16 season with a total of 299 depictions.

This year’s report focused on the 2016-17 season saw 866 instances of tobacco depiction.

However, tobacco-use imagery in broadcast and cable shows is also on the rise, with two-and-a-half times more depictions since the previous year.

Researchers found Netflix to be the most commonly-watched streaming service among young people, and identified the most popular programmes by surveying 750 people aged between 15 and 24.

The following programmes were selected for review:

  1. Orange is the New Black
  2. Fuller House
  3. Stranger Things
  4. Daredevil
  5. House of Cards
  6. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Of these, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had the most tobacco depictions between 2016 and 2017 with a total of 292, followed by Stranger Things with 262, and Orange is the New Black with 233.

Daredevil and Fuller House had the least amount of tobacco depictions, with 0 and 25 respectively.

In this report, e-cigarettes fall under the category of tobacco and depictions of their use represented less than one percent of total ‘tobacco’ depictions.

Fuller House, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and House of Cards were the only shows on the list to feature them.

The report found the most common tobacco product featured was the traditional cigarette; 54 percent of depictions showed characters either holding or smoking tobacco products, as opposed to them being seen in an ashtray, or on a table or shelf.

In its response to the findings, Netflix that said smoking in programmes aimed at young people would only be allowed in the case of “historical or factual accuracy”, the BBC reports.

It was also reported that Netflix said they:

“[R]ecognise that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people.”

Source: BBC News

Source: The Truth Initiative