Home > A comparative study of industry responses to government consultations about alcohol and gambling in the UK.

Bhuptani, Saloni and Boniface, Sadie and Severi, Katherine and Hartwell, Greg and McGill, Elizabeth (2023) A comparative study of industry responses to government consultations about alcohol and gambling in the UK. European Journal of Public Health, 33, (2), pp. 305-311. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckad018.

External website: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/advance-article/do...

BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence that common strategies are used across unhealthy commodity industries (UCIs) to influence policy decisions in line with their commercial interests. To date, there have been relatively few studies comparing corporate political activity (CPA) across UCIs, especially comparing the alcohol and gambling industries.

METHODS: A comparative and inductive thematic analysis of alcohol and gambling industry submissions to two House of Lords (HoL) inquiries in the UK was conducted. Themes in the framing, arguments and strategies used by the alcohol and gambling industries in CPA were compared.

RESULTS: Alcohol and gambling industry responses largely used the same framings, both in terms of the problems and solutions. This included arguing that harms are only experienced by a 'minority' of people, emphasising individual responsibility and shifting blame for harms to other industry actors. They promoted targeted or localised solutions to these harms, in place of more effective population level solutions, and emphasised the perceived harms of introducing regulation not in the industries' interests.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with previous literature suggesting that UCIs use the same framing and arguments to shape the narrative around their harms and solutions to those harms. This study also identified novel strategies such as shifting blame of harms to other industry actors. Policy makers should be aware of these strategies to avoid undue industry influence on policy decisions and understanding commonalities in strategies may help to inform more effective public health responses across all UCIs.

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