Streaming giant Netflix announced it will pare down depictions of smoking in its new programming after receiving criticism about the prevalence of tobacco-related images in its show "Stranger Things."

New series with ratings of TV-14 or below and new films with ratings PG-13 or below will be tobacco free, except for reasons of historical accuracy, the company says.

Joining Boston Public Radio to weigh in on this subject and others was medical ethicist Arthur Caplan. Caplan is the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Chair and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center, as well as the cohost of the "Everyday Ethics" podcast.

"It has a huge impact on all of us and a big impact on kids, what's on the media," Caplan said.

Caplan believes smoking rates tumbled in the United States due to two major factors: greater awareness about the public health risks of secondhand smoke, as well as the cultural influence from Hollywood and the media.

"I think smoking fell in the U.S. due to two moral arguments, and it wasn't just harm [to the user]," he explained. "It was second-hand smoke — you have no right to make me sick, or make others sick, or expose them to things they don't like ... and then Hollywood decided to make smoking not cool."

Caplan applauded Netflix's decision to pare down images of tobacco use in its programming.

"I think our media can really contribute to making smoking not cool, or at least toning it down so that it's not on the minds of people as something that ordinary folks do or celebrities do," he said.