Reality TV encouraging young people to smoke and drink more, suggests study 1 year ago

Reality TV encouraging young people to smoke and drink more, suggests study

Can I pull ya for a chat... and a smoke?

Reality TV brings out the worst in people.

It lures us into a false sense of security. It makes us think that we too can find love and 500k+ followers on an island in Majorca.

It ruins our summers by ensuring that we're all tucked up in bed by 9pm ready for the next night of drama instead of out having fun, chatting up lads, and showing up to work deathly hungover the next day.

You know, the way people in their 20s and 30s are supposed to behave.

As it turns out though, apparently reality TV does actually encourage young people to smoke and drink - purely due to the sheer amount of smoking and drinking that the people on such shows do.

A study conducted by the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies showed that reality TV contained significantly more depictions of drinking and smoking than other prime-time shows in the UK.

The research measured the amount of alcohol and tobacco products on several reality programmes that aired in the UK between January and August 2018.


The study included the likes of Celebrity Big Brother, Made in Chelsea, Love Island and Geordie Shore, and found that there were 4.9 billion images of alcohol shown to the public across 112 episodes.

580 million of these were shown to children under the age of 16.

As well as this, 214 million images of tobacco were shown to the population in Britain, with 47 million shown to children under 16.

The study included actual alcohol and cigarette consumption as well as implied use, branding, and the mention of such products.

Love Island included the highest number of clips depicting alcohol, while 98 percent of CCB episodes had actual tobacco use, inferred tobacco use, or tobacco paraphernalia.

"Given that seeing alcohol or tobacco imagery in the media promotes use among young people, our study therefore identifies reality television shows as a major potential driver of alcohol and tobacco consumption in young people in the UK,” said lead researcher Alexander Barker.

“Tighter scheduling rules, such as restricting the amount of content and branding shown in these programmes, could prevent children and adolescents from being exposed to the tobacco and alcohol content.”

Love Island cracked down on their own tobacco depiction after the 2017 series of the show received many complaints about the amount of smoking being broadcast.

ITV now do not air any scenes featuring contestants smoking.