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Totally Wicked, totally shameless

Love Island seems to have changed from when I watched it on ITV twelve years ago.

When it launched in 2005 it was called Celebrity Love Island and was presented by Patrick Kielty and Kelly Brook.

The first series was won by radio and TV presenter Jayne Middlemiss and an Irish nightclub owner called Fran Cosgrave.

The second – equally cheesey – series was won by Bianca Gascoigne and Calum Best. After that the programme was axed.

It returned a couple of years ago on ITV2 with "twelve single celebrities" spending five weeks on an island in Fiji.

I was vaguely aware of the latest incarnation but I haven't watched the programme and had no interest in it at all until it was reported last week that 'Love Island sparks more complaints about contestants' smoking than for sex scenes'.

According to the London Evening Standard:

More Love Island viewers have complained to Ofcom about contestants smoking than about their saucy bedroom antics, it has been revealed.

A spokesperson for the broadcasting regulator confirmed that it has received 24 complaints about the "portrayal of smoking" to 15 complaints "objecting to the promotion of sexual material/promiscuity".

Although the number of complaints is laughably small the story was enough to spur the tobacco control industry into righteous indignation – and action.

The Sun reported that the British Lung Foundation had criticised the show's producers for "irresponsible broadcasting".

Contestants are "killing themselves" and encouraging others to take up the deadly habit, said the BLF.

But wait, what's this?

A batch of e-cigarettes could be the newest recruits to Love Island, as health experts urge the show's producers to intervene.

In a letter to producers ("seen by The Sun Online"), Fraser Cropper, MD of vaping company Totally Wicked, said:

"We're aware of some of the negative headlines around smoking that the programme has attracted.

"I wondered if you would also consider joining forces with us and the BLF in order to help contestants ditch the habit.

"And also to drive home a positive message to viewers."

He added:

"E-cigarettes have a really exciting potential to reduce the harm done by smoking.

"I am sure you'll agree that we should do all we can to prevent young people from being lured into a killer habit.

"I would be delighted to discuss this in further detail.

"It would be great if we could work together to introduce e-cigarettes to the island."

Hats off, Fraser, fantastic promotion for your brand, applause all round.

And totally shameless. Well done!

Full story: Love Island’s smoking stars are encouraging the deadly habit, warn experts who want to ship e-cigarettes to the villa (The Sun).

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Reader Comments (5)

There is a special place in hell reserved for such people.

Sunday, July 9, 2017 at 18:49 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

This year there are a few contestants that don't smoke. Last year it seemed all of the contestants smoked. Last year there were loads of smoking scenes. This year, although there are still plenty, there don't seem to be as many as last year.

Also, it's a "cult of the body" show, hormones running high. For all of the smoking that goes on, the contestants are in excellent physical condition. The blokes are all muscled-up and regularly pumping iron.

Monday, July 10, 2017 at 2:24 | Unregistered CommenterJames

I’m not sure this mightn’t backfire rather nastily on the e-cig manufacturing company. I suspect that the sight of the smokers-forced-into-vaping fiddling endlessly with their e-cigs, farting around with e-liquid, re-charging their devices, and all the other messing around that goes with e-cigarettes would portray vaping as a habit which is probably more trouble than it’s worth, rather than an “easy alternative” to real smoking. Not to mention the fact that any smokers who didn’t get on with them, but who had no alternative but to use them would very likely make it quite obvious by grimacing, coughing and spluttering (as I do with e-cigarettes), and verbally letting their feelings be known on public TV. Because, contrary to what the e-cig manufacturers might want to believe, many smokers just don’t like e-cigarettes. I can’t believe that contestants making comments like: “God, what flavour is this? It’s disgusting!” or “I really can’t cope with these e-cigarettes. They’re horrible.” or “Has anyone got any proper cigarettes? These vaping things are bl***y awful!” Is exactly the kind of advertising they want!

There was, in fact, a rumour going around some while ago that in its early days TV producers decided to ban smoking on “I’m a celebrity ...” but decided to allow it after several celebrity smokers decided not to take part in the competition after hearing that smoking wouldn’t be allowed – and who can blame then? I strongly suspect that the same might happen with “Love Island” – smokers now, even those who aren’t as vocal against the ban as many on here are, are so aware of the possibility of being stuck somewhere that they can’t smoke that many would be reluctant to take part and, as the smokers in these programmes are often the most interesting and entertaining subjects, the programme makers would be reluctant to put any ruling in place which would prevent the most audience-attracting people from appearing.

Monday, July 10, 2017 at 2:35 | Unregistered CommenterMistie

Smoking is still cool. Vaping is nerdy.

Monday, July 10, 2017 at 15:02 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Wow, what an a$$hole that Fraser Cropper is....
Good advertising for vaping. Not!
Regarding James' comment above: no surprise there, as part of a generally healthy lifestyle (diet and sport-wise) smoking is not only not deleterious to health, but beneficial.

Monday, July 10, 2017 at 20:06 | Unregistered CommenterVlad

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