PTC: Netflix Smoking Ban in Kid-Rated Fare is Only Baby Step

The Parents Television Council has praised Netflix for announcing it will exclude portrayals of smoking and vaping in new original productions rated TV-14 or lower and movies rated PG-13 or lower, but suggests it is applying a double standard when it comes to other content potentially harmful to kids.

“Netflix is publicly admitting that its program content can adversely impact young people, and they’re taking positive steps to do something about it," said PTC president Tim Winter. "Kudos to Netflix for finally connecting those two dots. But why would they stop at tobacco use when the National Institutes for Health has recently linked their program content to a spike in children committing suicide? Why is artistic expression more important to Netflix when a teenager slits her wrists than when she puffs on a cigarette?"

PTC has been pushing Netflix to can its 13 Reasons Why series over concerns its suicide theme prompted the real thing.

“Make no mistake, this announcement by Netflix is a step in the right direction," said Winter. "But it is a baby step when a giant leap is what’s needed."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.