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Impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the nature of attempts to stop smoking and to reduce alcohol consumption in Great Britain: A representative population survey, 2021-2022

Jackson, Sarah E; Cox, Sharon; Shahab, Lion; Brown, Jamie; (2023) Impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the nature of attempts to stop smoking and to reduce alcohol consumption in Great Britain: A representative population survey, 2021-2022. PLoS One , 18 (5) , Article e0286183. 10.1371/journal.pone.0286183. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Smoking and excessive drinking place a strain on household budgets. We aimed to examine the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in Great Britain on the nature of smoking cessation and alcohol reduction attempts, and explore changes in health professionals offering support. METHODS: Data were from 14,567 past-year smokers and high-risk drinkers (AUDIT-C ≥5) participating in monthly representative surveys, January-2021 through December-2022. We estimated time trends in cost as a motive driving the most recent (smoking cessation/alcohol reduction) attempt, use of paid or evidence-based support, and receipt of GP offer of support for smoking cessation or alcohol reduction, and tested for moderation by occupational social grade. RESULTS: The proportion of attempts motivated by cost did not change significantly over time among smokers (25.4% [95%CI = 23.8-26.9%]), but increased between December-2021 and December-2022 among high-risk drinkers from less advantaged social grades (from 15.3% [95%CI 12.1-19.3] to 29.7% [20.1-44.1]). The only change in support use was an increase in smokers using paid support, specifically e-cigarettes (from 28.1% [23.7-33.3] to 38.2% [33.0-44.4]). Among those visiting their GP, the proportion who received an offer of support was similar over time among smokers (27.0% [25.7-28.2]) and high-risk drinkers (1.4% [1.1-1.6%]). CONCLUSIONS: There is limited evidence that the 2021/22 cost-of-living crisis affected the nature of attempts to stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption, or receipt of GP offer of support. It is encouraging that use of evidence-based support has not declined and that use of e-cigarettes in quit attempts has increased. However, cost is increasingly motivating alcohol reduction attempts among less advantaged drinkers, and rates of GPs offering support, especially for alcohol reduction, remain very low.

Type: Article
Title: Impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the nature of attempts to stop smoking and to reduce alcohol consumption in Great Britain: A representative population survey, 2021-2022
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0286183
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0286183
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 Jackson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10170802
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