Tobacco and Alcohol and Reality TV Programmes

“Did you know that some well-known and widely followed reality TV programmes have the highest exposure of both tobacco and alcohol products? And, these programmes portray a lifestyle that many viewers look up to, and are watched by millions of both children and adults.”

“Between January and August of 2018, the reality TV programmes Celebrity Big Brother, Made in Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex, Geordie Shore and Love Island were all monitored using a 1-minute interval coding to quantify tobacco and alcohol content, and the results have been quite suprising” said Jim Bett, Service Manager at Kirkcaldy-based Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS).

“Tobacco content appeared in 110 (2%) intervals, but alcohol appeared in an astonishing 2212 (42%) intervals, and additionally, alcohol appeared in all episodes of all these programmes.”

Jim continued “What this means is that these reality TV shows which are hugely popular with all age groups, but importantly, with many children under the legal age for alcohol, are delivering approximately 214 million tobacco impressions to the UK population and a mind-blowing 4.9 billion (yes billion!) alcohol impressions. No wonder many children grow up in the knowledge that the use of both tobacco and (more importantly) alcohol is an everyday occurance and is socially acceptable, even though significant steps have been taken to reduce the social acceptability of tobacco recently.

“So, we have the situation that tobacco and especially alcohol content is common in realtiy TV and as these programmes are so popular with young people, this exposure represents a potentially major driver in the future consumption of both tobacco and alcohol.”

Jim concluded by stating that the FASS counsellors who provide a free and confidential service throughout Fife know these problems at first-hand, but he stressed that FASS can be a lifesaver in many instances.

So, if you need to contact FASS, call 01592-206200 – it really does make a lot of sense.