Jungle babe Helen Flanagan was today blasted by health chiefs who accused her of “glamorising” smoking by repeatedly lighting up on the TV show.
Birmingham City Council health chief Steve Bedser complained to broadcast watchdog Ofcom accusing show bosses of encouraging young girls to take up the habit by showing the Corrie beauty puffing on fags.
Cllr Bedser, cabinet member for health and well-being, also accused producers of breaking TV rules by failing to protect under-18s from the dangers of smoking.
He fumed: “Helen Flanagan was filmed repeatedly as she smoked.
“The frequency of this image was such that it condoned, encouraged and glamorised smoking, especially by young girls.
“There was no editorial justification for including these scenes.
“I am concerned that programmes with a high profile among young teenagers contribute to a rising incidence of smoking in young girls, with catastrophic effects upon their health and wealth.
“Furthermore, it can be watched at any time before the watershed via the internet or playback on a variety of devices which are widely available.”
But ITV yesterday (Fri) defended the editing of the show.
A spokesman said: “ITV complies with the Ofcom code and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here! does not glamorise smoking.”
Soap stunner Helen, who played saucy Rosie Webster in Coronation Street, vowed to quit her 20-a-day habit as a New Year resolution at the end of 2011.
The actress, who goes out with Manchester City footballer Scott Sinclair, warned: “I might not be the easiest person to get along with over the next few months.”
But it seems the strain of the show led her straight back to cigarettes after she was repeatedly picked by the public to carry out Bushtucker Trials.
Several other I’m A Celeb stars are also smokers, including darts legend Eric Bristow, troubled comic Brian Conley – who quit the jungle – and Made in Chelsea’s Hugo Taylor.
Parents on popular website mumsnet have also slammed the contestants for lighting up on screen.
One user named ‘Rushywife’ said: “really surprised to see smoking on such a popular show.
“Not that I particularly object to smoking but it seemed a bit unnecessary, especially as it is popular with so many kids.”