Fancy a pint?: Alcohol use and smoking in soap operas


Alcohol use, smoking, drinking, soap opera, television, British


This study examined the frequency and portrayal of alcohol use and smoking in soap operas aired on British nonsatellite television. Fifty-four hours of programing were analyzed, monitoring the type of alcohol act, who was carrying it out, and why, where, and what consequences of the acts were depicted. Results supported previous findings that illustrate the prominent use of alcohol in popular soaps. More than 90% of the episodes viewed included some alcohol-related acts, with an average of 7.65 acts per episode, most of which were shown without any consequences. Female characters were drinking alcohol more often than expected and were also more likely to drink at home as a short-term means of coping. Alternatively, male characters were more often depicted as social drinkers, with more drinking inside pubs than expected. The frequency of smoking was also investigated. This was rarely shown in the episodes viewed, with 82.41% of the episodes containing no smoking acts. Eastenders accounted for 78.57% of all smoking acts but even this soap only had, on average, 32 s per episode of smoking in the foreground. Implications of the findings are discussed with regards to the possible influence on the socialization of younger viewers.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S. M., & *Ahmed, T. (2009). “Fancy a pint?”: Alcohol use and smoking in soap operas. Addiction Research and Theory, 17, 345-359

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Addiction Research and Theory




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor