Did the Obamas Influence a Return to Cigarette Smoking on Media?

By the same time Netflix hired Barack Obama and his partner in grime, Susan Rice, to their board of directors—and just before Michelle Obama and her husband signed a $50 million deal to produce movies for them—tobacco advertisements had been banned from television since 1971.

With all of that Obama and Rice entertainment, fantasy and cinematic experience, Netflix made considerably questionable deals in 2017 and 2018.

Netflix used to be a small service where one could rent films via U.S. mail and return them in the same fashion.

However, once the Obamas and Hollywood cult Kabbalah, run by Madonna (and the now incarcerated Harvey Weinstein), got their hooks into it, the streaming service became a purveyor of depraved, debauched shows and movies with a far-left political agenda.

It’s not like Hollywood needed additional expertise to trot out more leftist nonsense disguised as entertainment. Now the gullible become socially engineered, watching as the box-office and ratings awfulness it produces fade.

Netflix lost more subscribers in the first two quarters of 2022, especially in the U.S. with over 1 million viewer losses. It was their first subscriber losses in its history. At the time, the company commanded 7.6% of TV time, about 2.6-times more than Amazon and 1.4-times more than Disney and Hulu.

What has saved all the companies is working deals with China to add subscribers in Asia and the Pacific region, totaling over 1.4 million new paid memberships since the American losses.

The losses are so bad that Digiday reported the company is actually giving back some of its advertising dollars.

Perhaps they needed the money to pay for the “leadership” of Obama-Rice by selling visual images of people lighting up–coincidentally by cigarette products of some of the Left’s largest lobbyists and fundraising contributors.

Going way back, The Flintstones was the first animated primetime American television series. It was broadcast from September 30, 1960, to April 1, 1966 on ABC. The show, produced by Hanna-Barbera, fancifully depicted the lives of a working-class Stone Age man Fred Flintstone, his next-door neighbor/best friend Barney Rubble, and their families.

The show’s continuing popularity rested heavily on its juxtaposition of modern everyday concerns in the Stone Age setting. The Flintstones was the most financially successful network animated franchise for three decades, until The Simpsons debuted. In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Flintstones the second Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time (after The Simpsons)

About the same time as The Flintstones, Winston cigarettes were sponsors of such television series as The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. 

The Flintstones series would eventually come under fire for advertising cigarettes on an animated series watched by many children, but Winston pulled their involvement with the series after the Pebbles Flintstone character was born in 1963.

Tobacco usage – including cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco – on prime-time comedies hit its peak in 1963. On TV dramas, there wasn’t as much tobacco use on-screen especially since 1971.

The 1950-63 era was the height of televised tobacco use, which displayed more than two events per hour overall and more than four per hour in dramas.

We saw comedian George Burns, Herman Munster and Gomez Addams smoking cigars. Secret Agent Maxwell Smart smoked cigarettes, as well as Rob and Laura Petry from The Dick Van Dyke Show. Fred McMurray used a pipe on My Three Sons.

Cigarette advertising on television actually ended on January 1, 1971 with the last ad being a Virginia Slims on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Usage was virtually nonexistent from 1971-77, right after the ban on tobacco-related TV ads went into effect, when tobacco showed up less than once every two hours overall and 0.7 time an hour in dramas. Comedy shows depicted tobacco only 0.06 time per hour in that era.”

James Garner’s character on the Rockford Files occasionally smoked in the 1970s.

While he didn’t smoke regularly, Kramer on Seinfeld did in so many episodes. In fact in one episode he turned his apartment into a smoking lounge. George took up smoking to annoy his fiancee, to keep from getting married. Both Jerry and Elaine smoked cigars. In Barney Miller which ended 41 years ago, detectives Harris and Yumana were smokers. Everybody including Fonzie was dismayed when Joanie tried smoking on Happy Days.

In his 1993 study, Glantz charted the usage of tobacco products and not only found that occurrences are on the rise in prime-time comedies and dramas, but that smoking was still shown in a positive light. In comedies, a tobacco event occurred almost once every two hours, and in dramas there were 1.2 events per hour.

In comparison, a 1998 study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy found that 20% of the Top 20 shows watched by teens included depictions of tobacco

Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017 found teens are two to three times more likely to start smoking if they see people on screen lighting up. 

The current findings on the depiction of tobacco use came to light as TV and streaming shows are becoming increasingly popular. 

According to Truth Initiative, by 2018, the number of shows had increased by 137 percent in the previous 10 years mainly from Netflix and other streaming programs. National data indicate US teens and young adults spend an average of 12 to 13 hours per week watching television.

By July 2019, “Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on-screen can adversely influence young people,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”

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One comment

  1. My husband and I have both noticed a rise in cigarette and pot smoking and graphic sex (including teenage sex) and drug use on Netflix and other sites over the last few years. Some of it is quite shameful, in fact. And so many people in my area are still smoking – including some nurses, who should know better! When the Almighty dollar speaks, it shouts.

    Liked by 2 people

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