Emmy-nominated TV series showcase smoking

We've gotten anecdotal reports of more smoking in TV shows, but a shocker from Truth Initiative® reports that all but one of this year's drama or comedy series nominated for Emmy Awards feature smoking.

High-schooler Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) smokes in Netflix' Stranger Things. The series also includes Camel cigarettes.


Here's a list of shows from Truth. We've added the names of production companies and identified their production locations, which award large public subsidies.*

Better Call Saul | New Mexico | Gran Via, Sony Pictures | Distributor: AMC Networks

The Crown | UK, S. Africa | Left Bank, Sony Pictures | Distributor: Netflix

The Handmaid's Tale | Ontario, Canada | MGM | Distributor: Hulu

House of Cards | Maryland | Media Rights Capital | Distributor: Netflix

Stranger Things | Georgia | 21 Laps | Distributor: Netflix

This is Us | California | Fox | Distributor: NBC (Comcast)

Westworld | California | Bad Robot, Warner Bros. | Distributor: HBO (Time Warner)

Atlanta | Georgia | FX | Distributor: FX (21st Century Fox)

Master of None | New York | 3 Arts, Universal | Distributor: Netflix

Modern Family | California | Levitan/Lloyd, Fox | Distributor: ABC (Disney)

Silicon Valley | California | Judgemental, 3 Arts | Distributor: HBO (Time Warner)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt | New York | 3 Arts, Universal | Distributor: Netflix

Veep | Maryland, California | Dundee | Distributor: HBO (Time Warner)

Notice that almost all of these TV shows are produced or distributed by the same media giants who make most US movies with smoking.

The CDC's most recent report on movie smoking trends, released in MMWR on 6 July 2017, notes the urgent need to methodically track smoking on smaller screens, too:

As viewing platforms expand, it is important to identify whether youths are being exposed to tobacco imagery through other media sources, such as broadcast and cable television, on-demand services, and social media. Further research into youths’ exposure to tobacco imagery in these and other forms of media could also help identify the impact that exposure through these sources has on youths’ tobacco use.

Smokefree Movies strongly encourages research to track small-screen smoking, including broadcast and on-demand exposure to movies with smoking. Producers and carriers of TV shows with smoking must be held accountable.

The health community and AGs have helped push half the smoking out of kid-rated movies, so far. Now it looks like some of that smoking has squeezed over to video entertainment on premium cable, networks and streaming services.

Policymakers need to block that trend now, if necessary by using telecommunication's more robust public regulatory structure.


* Production details from IMDbPro.com. Another 2016-17 Netflix series with heavy smoking, not listed among Emmy nominees, is A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the Lemony Snicket books for kids. Does Netflix worry? See this blog for the answer.