The National Association of Attorneys General sent letters to companies that provide video on demand services asking them to adopt practices to protect kids from seeing tobacco-related content.
In NAAG's letter, which was signed by 43 attorneys general, NAAG wrote, "Given the significant rise in tobacco use by young people, particularly the use of e-cigarettes, preventing initiation and use of tobacco products is of critical importance to us and the public health community, and we sincerely hope it will be addressed by the streaming industry."
Asking VOD providers to take "reasonable steps" to protect young viewers from seeing tobacco-related content, NAAG recommended that they adopt the following practices:
- Eliminate or exclude tobacco imagery in all future original streamed content for young viewers, and ensure that promotional material is tobacco free. Content with tobacco imagery should be rated R or TV-MA and only be 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 access to tobacco-related content to be restricted, regardless of rating.
- Mitigate the negative use of tobacco imagery, from whatever source and with any rating, by streaming strong anti-smoking and anti-vaping announcements, as appropriate, before all content with tobacco imagery.
Saying that it hopes that its letter can be the first step in an ongoing discussion about the role that VOD providers can play in the fight against "the renormalization and glamorization of tobacco use," NAAG asked the companies to respond by September 6, 2019 with the name of a contact person who they can coordinate with.
"Video streaming companies have an opportunity to succeed in entertaining young people, while protecting them from the dangers of tobacco use" -- NAAG