A content analysis of tobacco and alcohol audio-visual content in a sample of UK reality TV programmes Alexander B. Barker, John Britton, Emily Thomson, Abby Hunter, Magdalena Opazo Breton, Rachael L. Murray;
Background 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.
Methods 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.
Results 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.
Conclusion Tobacco, and especially alcohol, content is common in reality TV. The popularity of these programmes with young people, and consequent exposure to tobacco and alcohol imagery, represents a potentially major driver of smoking and alcohol consumption.
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB,UK Address correspondence to Alexander B Barker, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; June 2019