Belfast Telegraph

Campaigners fume over Love Island contestants chain smoking on show

By Linda Stewart

Steamy ITV ratings-topper Love Island has come under fire from health charities in Northern Ireland over the level of smoking by contestants.

Health support charity Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke has said it is writing to the producers to raise its concerns about the amount of smoking that has been going on at the villa in Majorca where the love-match reality show is filmed.

"Like many offices, Love Island has been a topic of conversation here and we have noticed how much the participants smoke," said Fidelma Carter, director of public health for NI Chest Heart & Stroke.

"This is really unusual nowadays and is something that we should be concerned about, especially as the participants have become celebrities in the eyes of the viewers.

"We are writing to the producers of Love Island to raise this point with them. We would really urge young people not to follow the Love Island example."

And warning that there is nothing glamorous about smoking, Naomi Thompson, senior cancer prevention officer with Cancer Focus NI, added: "Outwardly these young people look very attractive and healthy but smoking can ruin your health and play havoc with your looks."

TV regulator Ofcom said that it received four complaints about smoking in Monday night's episode alone.

A spokesman for ITV said: "The islanders are only shown smoking if this happens at the same time as they are having conversations which we believe to be editorially important to the narrative of the show."

The chain-smoking on Love Island has become a smoking hot topic of conversation among viewers, with suggestions it's not a good example for a young and impressionable audience.

Twitter follower Carlo said: "I don't want to be the party blooper but is it just me that thinks Love Island should have a health warning 'smoking kills'?"

Another fan, saying they had switched off, added: "Well Love Island viewing was short lived. Turned it on and they're all sitting smoking their lungs to death, disgusting. Huge turn off."

Fidelma Carter warned young people not to follow the Love Island example.

"Apart from the longer term health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, COPD and cancer, smoking ages you prematurely," she said.

"You are unlikely to look as good as your non-smoking friends. The smell clings to your clothes, hair and skin and that will be off-putting to others. And it also can affect your fertility."

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