Netflix/Screenshot by NPR
When is it incorrect to point out cigarette smoking on tv, however OK to depict folks smoking hashish merchandise, significantly in programming in style amongst younger youngsters?
Netflix not too long ago introduced it might curb depictions of cigarette smoking in unique programming supposed for common audiences, after a Truth Initiative research confirmed its monster summer season hit, Stranger Things, featured extra tobacco use than every other program on streaming, broadcast or cable. There’s tobacco in each single episode.
Tobacco promoting has been banned on TV and within the films for many years; in relation to characters smoking cigarettes onscreen, restrictions are largely self-imposed. The Walt Disney Company is without doubt one of the few studios with a complete and public coverage about depicting tobacco use in films.
But what about smoking pot? The Netflix present On My Block is rated TV-14, for audiences, aged 14 and older — precisely the identical ranking as Stranger Things. The very first scene of On My Block, about highschool college students in Los Angeles, options children doing bong hits at a celebration. There’s a loveable, pot-smoking grandma.
And the Netflix romantic comedy, Always Be My Maybe is rated PG-13. One of its essential characters smokes weed.
This troubles Stanton Glantz, a professor of medication on the University of California, San Francisco, who for years has studied the cardiovascular results of tobacco smoke, and the results of tobacco advertising — direct and oblique.
“Rating a film for 14 year olds that’s promoting substance abuse — it’s like the peak of risk,” he says. Glantz says though pot is broadly thought to be holistic and innocent, in comparison with cigarettes, that is not correct.
“Marijuana is not harmless,” he says. “Secondhand marijuana smoke has the same kind of adverse effects on your blood vessels that smoking a cigarette does. Chemically it’s not all that different from cigarette smoke, except that the psychoactive agent is different.”
Study after research has proven a correlation between children’ publicity to cigarettes within the media and their later use of tobacco, Glantz says. There aren’t as many related research about pot, though some have begun to emerge.
But as pot legalization positive factors momentum, utilizing it’s changing into normalized in in style tradition. A few years in the past, Netflix confirmed up at a pop-up occasion at a West Hollywood dispensary and supplied weed varieties primarily based on a few of its hottest exhibits.
These days, hashish — versus tobacco — may help make a sure form of firm appear cool, says Washington Post opinion author Alyssa Rosenberg. “Marijuana has sort of a better lobbying message right now than tobacco does,” she observes.
But Rosenberg factors out that for a lot of the 20th century, Big Tobacco actively — and efficiently — promoted cigarettes in films and on TV. “They were planting stories about how Paul Newman was learning to light two cigarettes at a time for a role,” she says. “They provided inexperienced rooms [with cigarettes]. They targeted on attempting to get stars to smoke on-air throughout tapings of The Merv Griffin Show. They tried to push trend editorials to point out fashions smoking.”
So, Rosenberg says, it is maybe disingenuous for filmmakers or studios to argue, as Netflix does as we speak, that smoking onscreen is an inventive expression when a lot of it, traditionally, got here out of selling departments — product placement.
Glantz worries that form of product placement would possibly occur once more with weed, as soon as it turns into broadly commercialized.
“And Netflix ought to be adopting a policy that, you know, is not only based on the bombproof science we have on tobacco,” he says, “but brings common sense into the discussion for these other exposures.”
Of course, Netflix is not the one firm with a task to play right here. Other main streaming firms have not made public any insurance policies concerning the onscreen use of tobacco or hashish.Netflix, Hulu and Amazon didn’t reply to NPR’s requests for remark with regard to such insurance policies.
But earlier this month, attorneys common from 43 states and territories signed a letter despatched to streaming firms, asking for higher practices in relation to exhibiting tobacco use on display. Some public well being consultants suppose pot ought to be subsequent on the agenda.
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