Peer accuses reality TV show Love Island of glamorising smoking

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A clampdown has been urged at Westminster against smoking on the reality TV show Love Island amid concerns it is glamorising the habit to young viewers.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Storey said contestants on the ITV programme regularly smoked and pressed ministers over the message this sent to youngsters.

The former primary school headteacher called for action by the industry regulator Ofcom after raising the issue at question time in the House of Lords.

Responding, Culture minister Lord Ashton of Hyde, who admitted to not being a regular viewer of Love Island, said changes to the Broadcasting Code were a matter for the independent regulator.

He said: "Ofcom takes the protection of children and young people very seriously, that is why there are already specific restrictions on the portrayal of smoking on television."

Pressing his case, Lord Storey said: "I don't know if he's a regular watcher of Love Island, but if he were to look at the ITV website it describes Love Island as an emotional feast of lust and passion in the sun.

"The same website says that this programme captures 56% share of the 16 to 34-year-olds.

"On this programme those contestants are regularly smoking. What message does that say to young people? 'That I can live a glamorous life if I smoke as well'."

( Jonathan Brady/PA)
( Jonathan Brady/PA)

He pointed out the Ofcom Broadcasting Code stated smoking must not be glamorised in programmes likely to be seen widely or heard by under 18-year-olds, unless there was editorial justification.

Lord Storey said: "Doesn't the minister think that Ofcom ought to take action in this matter?"

Lord Ashton said: "I am not a regular watcher of Love Island. It is a matter for Ofcom. The broadcasting code is there to be regulated by Ofcom.

"Any complaints about any programme will be investigated by Ofcom and, of course, it's up to anyone who has concerns about smoking in this programme to complain to Ofcom.

"Incidentally, just to put it in perspective, Ofcom had just under 15,000 complaints last year and 75 related to smoking on Love Island."