YouGov have asked the public what they think about the two big public health interventions that didn’t make the Queen’s speech this year – plain packs for cigarettes and minimum unit pricing for alcohol.
There’s been some speculation as to why these policies haven’t been taken forward, was it the dark arts of lobbying, or more about the political rise of Ukip, or the failure of the policies to command the support of key ministers in the Cabinet.
What I’m interested in though is why there seems to be such different responses to these changes by the public and I’m left wondering whether it is a matter of the values messages, or just the length of time that those in tobacco control have been advocating for these sorts of interventions.
Of course it could be that one appears to be cost-free to the consumer and the other isn’t.
As you can see from the chart on the right plain packs are clearly supported across age groups, with young adults being the most enthusiastic.
That’s also true across political affiliation, where even Ukip voters suggest they are just about more in favour of going down that route than not (46% to 41%).
Yougov report that 50% of the public agreed with the statement that this should be the subject of legislation this year.
Though once again it is interesting to note that young adults seem to be the most receptive group.
In terms of the politics of MUP it is most strongly resented by those who say they intend to vote for Ukip (64% oppose) and Labour (55% opposed), Conservative voters are the most evenly split (48% oppose) with only supporters of the Lib Dems having a majority in favour (61%).
This scepticism is reflected in the numbers saying that MUP should be introduced this year, where only 34% agreed with that proposition. Interestingly this falls to 31% when looking at adults living in Scotland where of course the government are more committed to acting.