Thursday 19 February 2015

What the public thinks of 'public health'

As reported towards the end of last year, ComRes conducted a large opinion poll on behalf of the IEA, asking people about their attitude towards 'public health' policies. The findings make for very interesting reading and you can see them in full in a series of blog posts on the IEA lifestyle blog. Here's a very brief summary:

71 per cent of the British adults surveyed - and 81 per cent of those who gave an opinion - believed that it should be the individual’s responsibility to make their own lifestyle choices and that the government should not interfere. This echoes the results of a 2013 Ipsos MORI poll which found that only 30 per cent of British adults agreed that ‘It is the government’s responsibility to influence people’s behaviour to encourage healthy lifestyles’. This view was largely reflected by respondents’ opposition to economic measures, including taxes and incentives, being used to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Of those who expressed an opinion, 69 per cent felt that indirect taxes were too high and 59 per cent felt that pubs should be able to accommodate smokers in a private room. Of the new ‘public health’ policies mentioned in the survey, only health warnings enjoyed majority support, perhaps because they are not perceived to impinge on freedom or impose a cost on consumers and taxpayers.

All in all, our survey found the British public to be generally liberal (in the uncorrupted sense of the word) when it came to individual lifestyle choices. They tend to prefer free choice rather than government intervention, and there is little demand for new or higher taxes on alcohol, tobacco, food and soft drinks.

Read more in these three posts...

Part one: Attitudes towards sin taxes

Part two: Attitudes towards financial incentives, health warnings and the smoking ban

Part three: Attitudes towards the nanny state by voting intention

1 comment:

Christopher Snowdon said...

Too many dogma spouting nannies. One day they dictate "Eat this, drink that, it's good for you!" The next day "Don't eat, drink that! We found traces of blurb. It's veeeery baaaad for you!"

And that's just for starters.