Protocol for expansion of an existing national monthly survey of smoking behaviour and alcohol use in England to Scotland and Wales: The Smoking and Alcohol Toolkit Study

Wellcome Open Res. 2021 Mar 29:6:67. doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16700.1. eCollection 2021.


Background The Smoking and Alcohol Toolkit Study (STS/ATS) in England has delivered timely insights to inform and evaluate strategies aimed at reducing tobacco smoking- and alcohol-related harm. From the end of 2020 until at least 2024 the STS/ATS is expanding to Scotland and Wales to include all constituent nations in Great Britain. Expanding data collection to Scotland and Wales will permit the evaluation of how smoking and alcohol related behaviours respond to divergent policy scenarios across the devolved nations. Methods The STS/ATS consists of monthly cross-sectional household interviews (computer or telephone assisted) of representative samples of adults in Great Britain aged 16+ years. Commencing in October 2020 each month a new sample of approximately 1700 adults in England, 450 adults in Scotland and 300 adults in Wales complete the survey (~n = 29,400 per year). The expansion of the survey to Scotland and Wales has been funded for the collection of at least 48 waves of data across four years. The data collected cover a broad range of smoking and alcohol-related parameters (including but not limited to smoking status, cigarette/nicotine dependence, route to quit smoking, prevalence and frequency of hazardous drinking, attempts and motivation to reduce alcohol consumption, help sought and motives for attempts to reduce alcohol intake) and socio-demographic characteristics (including but not limited to age, gender, region, socio-economic position) and will be reviewed monthly and refined in response to evolving policy needs and public interests. All data analyses will be pre-specified and available on a free online platform. A dedicated website will publish descriptive data on important trends each month. Discussion The Smoking and Alcohol Toolkit Study will provide timely monitoring of smoking and alcohol related behaviours to inform and evaluate national policies across Great Britain.

Keywords: Survey; alcohol; health behaviour; policy; public health; tobacco.