Assessing the profile of support for potential tobacco control policies targeting availability in Great Britain: a cross-sectional population survey

Tob Control. 2022 Aug 25:tobaccocontrol-2022-057508. doi: 10.1136/tc-2022-057508. Online ahead of print.


Aim: To examine the level of support for tobacco availability policies across Great Britain (GB) and associations between support for policy and sociodemographic, smoking and quitting characteristics.

Methods: A cross-sectional representative survey (the Smoking Toolkit Study) of adults in GB (n=2197) during September 2021. Logistic regressions estimated the associations between support for each policy and sociodemographic and smoking characteristics.

Findings: There was majority support for requiring retailers to have a license which can be removed if they sell to those under-age (89.6%) and for restrictions on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco near schools (69.9%). More supported than opposed raising the legal age of sale of cigarettes and tobacco to 21 (49.2% supported; 30.7% opposed; 20.1% unsure) and reducing the number of retailers selling tobacco in neighbourhoods with a high density of tobacco retailers (46.5% supported; 23.3% opposed; 30.2% unsure). More opposed than supported a ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to everyone born after a certain year from 2030 onward (a 'tobacco-free generation') (41.3% opposed; 34.5% supported; 24.2% unsure). Age was positively associated with support for raising the age of sale and inversely associated with requiring tobacco retailer licenses. Women were more likely to support raising the age of sale and reducing the number of retailers.

Conclusions: Requiring tobacco retailer licensing and restrictions on sales near schools received majority support. Other tobacco availability policies received substantial support despite considerable opposition.

Keywords: public opinion; public policy; surveillance and monitoring.