Toad Island

H/T Rose for the news that the Abhorrent Toad has been complaining about smoking on the reality TV show Love Island.

In its letter to Ofcom, seen by the Observer, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said: “I consider it reasonable to require programme-makers to have very strong justifications for showing smoking in a programme likely to be seen by young people, particularly if it depicts smoking by glamorous and attractive characters or people. I have seen no such justification in this case.”

An ITV spokesman responded: “The islanders are only shown smoking if this happens at the same time as they are having conversations we believe to be editorially important to the narrative of the show.” ITV insists that the contestants’ cigarettes are contained in plain white packs so that the show will not be seen to be promoting one brand. The Ofcom Code prohibits product placement of cigarettes or other tobacco products.

Isn’t reality TV supposed to reflect reality? And isn’t it the reality that a lot of people like to smoke, particularly in those social contexts where boy meets girl?

And isn’t it that these reality TV shows aren’t scripted? The participants aren’t reading lines. The Toad’s complaint might have been justified if Love Island was a scripted situation comedy, because the producers would have been putting words into the actors’ mouths, and cigarettes into their hands, and so been “promoting” smoking. But the producers aren’t making the participants say anything or do anything. They make cigarettes available to the participants, but they don’t tell them to smoke them. If the Toad is going to complain to anybody, shouldn’t it be to Chloe Crowhurst, left, and Amber Davies, right?

And isn’t it telling that the participants seem to only ever say anything “editorially important” – i.e. interesting – when they’re smoking?

The Toad’s particular complaint had been about the tobacco packets that are shown:

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) is questioning why the contestants’ cigarettes are contained in plain white packs which hide the highly visible – and distinctly unglamorous – graphic health warnings that carry pictures of diseased lungs and references to male impotence.

But doesn’t this reflect the reality that many smokers don’t like these ugly packets, and so put their cigarettes or tobacco in another container? I do that myself all the time, keeping my tobacco in a tin without any brand name or health warnings on it. And when Dick Puddlecote dropped into the Smoky Drinky Bar last week, he had his cigarette pack contained inside a (very nice) larger Marlboro pack, which seemed to even have a magnetic snap lock on its lid. There were no health warnings on the larger pack, of course. Will Tobacco Control next be demanding that health warnings be added to such packs, which are presumably not being manufactured by Philip Morris? Or being manufactured under licence from Philip Morris (If Philip Morris manufactured cars as well as tobacco, would their cars have to carry health warnings?)?

Isn’t the Smoky Drinky Bar a sort of reality TV show? Is the Toad going to show up there too, and demand that all the cigarette ads be stripped from its walls, along with the No Antismoking signs and the Deborah Arnott dartboard and the ashtray(s) on the tables?

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30 Responses to Toad Island

  1. And isn’t it telling that the participants seem to only ever say anything “editorially important” – i.e. interesting – when they’re smoking?
    Well played that man, well played!

  2. Timothy Goodacre says:

    All my cigs go into one of my nice collection of cigarette cases !

    • I decant my tubs of rolling and pipe tobacco into a old KIlner Jar. I did used to just open a tub and leave it lying around but granddaughter saw one recently, the one with the baby with that cool dummy as a cigarette holder and she, granddaughter, is 1. ‘Beeeeebbbbeee’ crazy atm in that way only 2 year old toddlers can be- anything with a baby on has to have a baby inside and 2. she WANTED just such a cool dummy with a built in cigarette in that way 2 year old toddlers can. (same pic but on a pack)

      When I preroll some smokes then I stick them in an empty old pack with not too much Pathologist Porn on it. When that ancient pack disintegrates then I shall have to go buy a tin or case.

    • beobrigitte says:

      All my rollies go into 2 nice tin cases. It’s not that the health porn on the tobacco pouches bothers me, I’ve seen diabetic leg ulcers and people on a ventilator in ITU before. I just hate the idea that I’m promoting the lies of these pictures if I show them in public.

  3. Mark Jarratt, Sydney, Australia says:

    Let’s reclaim some of the tobacco taxes stolen from smokers by creating and selling online dartboard templates/adhesive overlays featuring that propagandist Toad Arenot [sic] plus meddling busybodies Profs S Chapman and Mike Daube [also sic, but rewarded with Orders of Australia for making careers from telling others how to live].🎯

    • Nah Cobber, you want to come up with a brand of really good tshirts, each displaying Chappers, Toad and Daube etc with the slogan ‘Be COOL like us- don’t smoke!’ then give them away free to any teenager. Never underestimate the power of reverse psychology !

      • Mark Jarratt, Sydney, Australia says:

        Inspired suggestion thank you Mr or Ms Censored Vertically Challenged individual, esq. Fair dinkum, the crows shall be stoned upon delving into their tuckerbags by a billabong, as we’re not going until gum leaves (unless we want to play some euchre, Lyptus).💡

  4. Rose says:

    Remember Mary Whitehouse? What a pair they would have made.

  5. Vlad says:

    Well, writing this kind of letters is part of her 80k a year ‘job’.
    I’m more angry because Big Tobacco which spends billions on gizmos like IQOS pretty much ignores this issue. A responsible industry which cares about its customers would scream bloody hell regarding ##the highly visible – and distinctly unglamorous – graphic health warnings that carry pictures of diseased lungs and references to male impotence.##

  6. Igrowmyown says:

    So it’s ok for ugly people to smoke on reality TV but not attractive people,will legislation be passed in parliament to enforce this?

    • Jay says:

      Best anti-smoking ad would be to show Debs smoking as a warning on the packs :)

      • Rose mentioned Mary Whitehouse, whose ‘campaign’ I can well remember as I was a young teenager at the time. Her and there was another one ‘Gillick’ I think her name was. What I recall about them the most (other than when finally caught MW on tv in a debate with young people, she actually made a lot of sense…not that I or my peers would have ever admitted it in public!) was they seemed to be doing their damnest to make underage sex more appealling than it was.

  7. wobbler2012 says:

    I think you missed the best part of the article frank:

    “ITV said it was happy for Ofcom to consider the charity’s issues. It had no plans to change its approach to participants who smoked during filming.”

    ITV basically telling the prod-noses to piss off. :-D

  8. Clicky says:

  9. margo says:

    That Deborah Arnott dartboard cracks me up. I’d love her to visit and see it. I hope you’ve got some darts to go with it.

  10. Rose says:

    I wonder if the alcoholic drinks are plain packaged too, presumably they are and for the same reason, which rather gives the lie to the glitzy packaging nonsense.

    I’m glad that Deborah has called this to the public’s attention, I do hope that our politicians have been informed of it too.
    Proof if proof were needed young persons are not in anyway influenced by packaging and will happily drink and smoke unbranded goods.

    And after all that fuss too, a simple experiment proves the reverse.

    • Joe L. says:

      Very true, Rose. The all-white packs are as plain as “plain packaging” can get. The fact that Arnott is up in arms over this is damning evidence that she’s fully aware that unbranded packaging has no effect on consumers.

      She’s basically admitting they never wanted “plain” packs; they want tobacco packaging to be covered in nothing but gruesome images and scary lies. More appropriate (i.e., unpropagandized) terms would be “Repulsive Packs,” or “Phobia Packs,” or “Terror Packs.”

      Arnott, et al. are not very bright. They seem to put their feet in their mouths quite frequently, especially when in “react” mode. If only the media wasn’t on the TC take–there have been plenty of opportunities for articles that question the constant contradictions and hypocrisy coming from TC, but it’s never written about outside of independent blogs like Frank’s.

      • Rose says:

        I still can’t quite believe that our Government legislated away legitimate companies’ intellectual property without compensation and at the will of the health lobby, and are now expecting the rest of the world to want to trade with us.

        I’m not sure the media is on the TC take, but tobacco companies are no longer allowed to pay them money to advertise and pharmaceutical companies are.

      • Rose says:

        I noticed last night in a trailer for the programme that it is sponsored by Superdrug, but the illustration to the sponsorship notice is of suncream not Nicorette.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Arnott, et al. are not very bright. They seem to put their feet in their mouths quite frequently, especially when in “react” mode.
        They are in a rush, the passive smoke lie won’t hold as they are going for all sorts of idiotic outdoor bans. And all 11(?) of them no longer are united?
        They lost oversight of all the tentacles.

  11. slugbop007 says:

    Hank Williams wrote a great song titled ‘Mind your own business’. It can be found on YouTube here:

    We should send Ms. Toad a link to that song every day of the month. And the month after that. Forever more.


  12. Smoking Lamp says:

    Allowing smokers to be seen on TV gets in the way of ASH’s social cleansing project.

  13. scot says:

    We’ve had display bans, (shutters) – now we have “plain” (medical porn) packs, why hide these from the kiddies?

    Surely it’s meant to put them off taking up smoking? So why not have them in plain sight?

    Oh, I forgot – I’m not an grossy over-remunerated TC stooge…

  14. Rose says:

    To put things in perspective

    5 July 2017

    “Viewers were more angered by Love Island’s portrayal of smoking – which received 24 complaints.”

    “Viewing figures for the reality show, which airs six nights a week, have trebled since the first series in 2015, with more than 2million people now tuning in to each instalment.”

    Was Deborah’s complaint about cigarette packets number 24 or number 25?.

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