Alcohol and smoking brief interventions by socioeconomic position: British population-based survey

Vera Helen Buss, Sharon Cox, Graham Moore, Colin Angus, Lion Shahab, Linda Bauld, Jamie Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Alcohol and smoking brief interventions (BI) in general practice have been shown to be effective in lowering alcohol- and smoking-related harm.

AIM: Assess prevalence of self-reported BI receipt among increasing/higher risk drinkers and past-year smokers in Great Britain (GB) and associations between intervention receipt and socioeconomic position.

DESIGN & SETTING: Monthly population-based survey in England, Scotland, and Wales. The study comprised 47,799 participants (15,573 increasing/higher risk drinkers (AUDIT-C score ≥5), 7791 past-year smokers) surveyed via telephone in 2020-2022 (during the COVID-19 pandemic). All data were self-reported.

METHOD: Prevalence of self-reported BI receipt was assessed descriptively; associations between receipt and socioeconomic position were analysed using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Among adults in GB, 32.2% (95% CI 31.8-32.7) reported increasing/higher risk drinking and 17.7% (95% CI 17.3-18.1) past-year smoking. Among increasing/higher risk drinkers, 58.0% (95% CI 57.1-58.9) consulted with a general practitioner in the past year, and of these, 4.1% (95% CI 3.6-4.6) reported receiving BIs. Among past-year smokers, 55.8% (95% CI 54.5-57.1) attended general practice in the past year. Of these, 41.0% (95% CI 39.4-42.7) stated receiving BIs. There was a tendency for socioeconomically disadvantaged patients to receive more alcohol (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.38; 95% CI 1.10-1.73) or smoking BIs (aOR 1.11; 95% CI 0.98-1.26), but for the latter the results were statistically non-significant. Results did not differ notably by nation within GB.

CONCLUSION: BIs in general practice are more common for smoking than for alcohol, but for alcohol a greater proportion is delivered to socioeconomically disadvantaged increasing/higher risk drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJGP Open
Early online date7 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • General Practice
  • Drinking Behaviour
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Position
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Substance Intervention


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