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Brief interventions for smoking and alcohol associated with the COVID-19 pandemic: a population survey in England

Kock, Loren; Shahab, Lion; Garnett, Claire; Oldham, Melissa; Tattan-Birch, Harry; Angus, Colin; Brose, Leonie; (2024) Brief interventions for smoking and alcohol associated with the COVID-19 pandemic: a population survey in England. BMC Public Health , 24 , Article 76. 10.1186/s12889-023-17559-7. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 health care delivery underwent considerable changes. It is unclear how this may have affected the delivery of Brief Interventions (BIs) for smoking and alcohol. We examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the receipt of BIs for smoking and alcohol in primary care in England and whether certain priority groups (e.g., less advantaged socioeconomic positions, or a history of a mental health condition) were differentially affected. // Methods: We used nationally representative data from a monthly cross-sectional survey in England between 03/2014 and 06/2022. Monthly trends in the receipt of BIs for smoking and alcohol were examined using generalised additive models among adults who smoked in the past-year (weighted N = 31,390) and those using alcohol at increasing and higher risk levels (AUDIT score 38, weighted N = 22,386), respectively. Interactions were tested between social grade and the change in slope after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and results reported stratified by social grade. Further logistic regression models assessed whether changes in the of receipt of BIs for smoking and alcohol, respectively, from 12/2016 to 01/2017 and 10/2020 to 06/2022 (or 03/2022 in the case of BIs for alcohol), depended on history of a mental health condition. // Results: The receipt of smoking BIs declined from an average prevalence of 31.8% (95%CI 29.4–35.0) pre-March 2020 to 24.4% (95%CI 23.5–25.4) post-March 2020. The best-fitting model found that after March 2020 there was a 12-month decline before stabilising by June 2022 in social grade ABC1 at a lower level (~ 20%) and rebounding among social grade C2DE (~ 27%). Receipt of BIs for alcohol was low (overall: 4.1%, 95%CI 3.9–4.4) and the prevalence was similar pre- and post-March 2020. // Conclusions: The receipt of BIs for smoking declined following March 2020 but rebounded among priority socioeconomic groups of people who smoked. BIs for alcohol among those who use alcohol at increasing and higher risk levels were low and there was no appreciable change over time. Maintaining higher BI delivery among socioeconomic and mental health priority groups of smokers and increasing and higher risk alcohol users is important to support reductions in smoking and alcohol related inequalities.

Type: Article
Title: Brief interventions for smoking and alcohol associated with the COVID-19 pandemic: a population survey in England
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-023-17559-7
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-023-17559-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Brief interventions, Smoking, Alcohol, COVID-19, General practice
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/10185144
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