Public support for health taxes and media regulation of harmful products in South Korea

Cited 2 time in Web of Science Cited 2 time in Scopus
Kim, Kyae Hyung; Kang, EunKyo; Yun, Young Ho
Issue Date
BioMed Central
BMC Public Health. 19(1):665
Food taxPerceptionSmokingAlcoholPublic support
Public health policy is inevitably associated with either a strong presence or lack of public support. We investigated factors associated with both the public support of and opposition to health taxes and the media regulation regarding advertising harmful products in Korea.

We interviewed 1200 respondents that were recruited using an equal-probability sampling method in accordance with the 2016 Korean census. Our investigation examined the extent of support and opposition towards health taxes and the media regulation of advertising that targets the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy foods according to socioeconomic characteristics, health habits, body mass index (BMI), and exposure to the advertising of harmful products. The study was conducted using a univariate and stepwise multivariate regression analysis.

The majority (71.8%) of the respondents were supportive of imposing health taxes in general. Despite a high prevalence of tobacco and alcohol consumption among the respondents, they strongly supported media regulation of tobacco (72.3%), alcohol (63.7%), and eating broadcasts (51.9%) food advertising (44.0%). Those that were non-smokers, earned a high-income, were married, or had a child were likely to support at least one kind of regulation regarding alcohol and smoking related advertising. An exposure to excessive advertising of unhealthy products was associated with increase of respondents supporting the media regulation. Those who regarded the media as being influential seemed to be more supportive of health taxes or media regulation.

Our results indicated strong public support among the respondents for health taxes and the media regulation regarding the advertising of unhealthy products. Based on our data, we are optimistic that countries whose population show a high rate of tobacco, alcohol or unhealthy food consumption may launch public policy in addressing these factors.
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