Coalition of States Urge Streaming Industry to Limit Tobacco Use Images in Video Content

E-Cigarette companies are cutting back on flavors of nicotine. Image courtesy of

A coalition of Attorneys General from 43 states requested the streaming industry to protect young viewers by eliminating or reducing tobacco use images in their video content.

The coalition led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson noted the increasing number of teenagers using tobacco products such as e-cigarettes.

Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes increased from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018.

Tobacco use is destroying the health of America’s youth

In 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General determined that watching movies with tobacco imagery increases the likelihood that adolescents will become smokers.

In a statement, Attorney General Becerra said, “Tobacco use is a very serious public health concern that is destroying the health of our youth. We all have the responsibility to ensure America’s children do not pay the price for inaction when it comes to tobacco enforcement. My office is committed to tackling this problem from all angles and ensuring a healthier California.”

Coalition requests the streaming industry to implement the following policies

 On Wednesday, the coalition of Attorneys General requested the streaming industry to adopt the following policies:

  • Eliminate or exclude tobacco imagery in all future original streamed content for young viewers, including any content rated TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, G, PG, and PG-13.
  • Ensure that any promotional material such as previews, trailers, image galleries, and clips are tobacco-free. Content with tobacco imagery should be rated TV-MA or R and only recommended to adult viewers.
  • Only “recommend” or designate tobacco-free content for children, adolescents, families, and general audiences.
  • Improve or offer parental controls that are effective, prominent, and easy-to-use, that allow parents and guardians specifically to restrict access to all content with tobacco imagery, regardless of rating.
  • Mitigate the negative influence of tobacco content, from whatever source and with any rating, by streaming strong anti-smoking and/or anti-vaping public service announcements, as appropriate, before all videos with tobacco content.