Exposure to tobacco and alcohol content in audio-visual media is a risk factor for smoking and alcohol use in young people. We report an analysis of tobacco and alcohol content, and estimates of population exposure to this content, in a sample of reality television programmes broadcast in the UK.
We used 1-minute interval coding to quantify tobacco and alcohol content in all episodes of five reality TV programmes aired between January and August 2018 ( Celebrity Big Brother; Made in Chelsea; The Only Way is Essex; Geordie Shore and Love Island), and estimated population exposure using viewing data and UK population estimates.
We coded 5219 intervals from 112 episodes. Tobacco content appeared in 110 (2%) intervals in 20 (18%) episodes, and alcohol in 2212 (42%) intervals and in all episodes. The programmes delivered approximately 214 million tobacco gross impressions to the UK population, including 47.37 million to children; and for alcohol, 4.9 billion and 580 million respectively.