Why is there more tobacco control policy than alcohol control policy in the UK?

Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy

The obvious answer is that drinking is less bad for you than smoking. Or, if you are the optimistic sort, drinking is really, really, really, really, really good for you – mm, mm, delicious and nutritious. And it’s cool. And it’s sexy and it makes you sexy. Especially when you are pissed.

The non-obvious answer is that, although the same sort of public health evidence has been produced to suggest that: (a) both smoking and drinking are unhealthy; and, (b) both should be controlled using similar instruments – the alcohol-is-unhealthy evidence is less accepted in government and alcohol control policies are a harder sell (for now). Alcohol can still be advertised, there is less tax on booze and the alcohol industry has a regular say in the interpretation of the evidence (and what we should do about it).
The aim of this ICPP paper (link) is to explain the…

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