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Understanding public opinion to the introduction of minimum unit pricing in Scotland: a qualitative study using Twitter

Astill Wright, Laurence, Golder, Su, Balkham, Adam and McCambridge, J. 2019. Understanding public opinion to the introduction of minimum unit pricing in Scotland: a qualitative study using Twitter. BMJ Open 9 (6) , e029690. 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029690

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Abstract

Objectives On 1 May 2018 minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol was introduced in Scotland. This study used Twitter posts to quantify sentiment expressed online during the introduction of MUP, conducted a thematic analysis of these perceptions and analysed which Twitter users were associated with which particular sentiments.Design and setting This qualitative social media analysis captured all tweets relating to MUP during the 2 weeks after the introduction of the policy. These tweets were assessed using a mixture of human and machine coding for relevance, sentiment and source. A thematic analysis was conducted.Participants 74 639 tweets were collected over 14 days. Of these 53 574 were relevant to MUP.Results Study findings demonstrate that opinion on the introduction of MUP in Scotland was somewhat divided, as far as is discernible on Twitter, with a slightly higher proportion of positive posts (35%) than negative posts (28%), with positive sentiment stronger in Scotland itself. Furthermore, 55% of positive tweets/retweets were originally made by health or alcohol policy-related individuals or organisations. Thematic analysis of tweets showed some evidence of misunderstanding around policy issues.Conclusions It is possible to appreciate the divided nature of public opinion on the introduction of MUP in Scotland using Twitter, the nature of the sentiment around it and the key actors involved. It will be possible to later study how this changes when the policy becomes more established.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 2044-6055
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 January 2020
Date of Acceptance: 24 May 2019
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2020 16:14
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/128554

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