Industry lobbying remains an obstacle to effective health-oriented alcohol policy. In 2013, an increase in excise tax on spirits was announced by the Polish government. This article presents a qualitative analysis of the public debate that ensued on the potential economic, health and social effects of the policy. It focuses on how competing groups, including industry actors, framed their position and sought to dominate the debate. Online archives of five Polish national newspapers, two spirits trade associations, and parliamentary and ministerial archives were searched. A thematic content analysis of the identified sources was conducted. The overall findings were compared with existing research on the framing of the Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) debate in the UK. A total of 155 sources were analysed. Two main frames were identified: health, and economic. The spirits industry successfully promoted the economic frame in their own publications and in the media. The debate was dominated by arguments about potential growth of the grey market and losses in tax revenue that might result from the excise tax increase. The framing of the debate in Poland differed from the framing of the MUP debate in the United Kingdom. The Polish public health community was unsuccessful in making health considerations a significant element of the alcohol policy debate. The strategies pursued by UK health advocates offer lessons for how to make a more substantial impact on media coverage and promote health-oriented legislation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health