Dr Tom Thompson is a Research Fellow within Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, supported by grants from several National Institute of Health Research grants and he is currently the Principal Investigator on a Research for Patient Benefit funded systematic review of physical activity and the prevention, reduction, and treatment of alcohol and substance use across the lifespan (The PHASE Review: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/primarycare/a-systematic-review-of-physical-activity-for-alcohol-and-substance-use-disorders). Other research focuses on nicotine and alcohol addiction, and the design and evaluation of complex behavioural interventions aimed at addressing multiple behaviours among disadvantaged groups. He has published numerous journal articles and authored book chapters relating to addiction. He is a member of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction group and is a co-author of the Cochrane review on Motivational Interviewing for Smoking Cessation. His primary research interests include addiction, physical activity, mental health, multiple behaviour change, and the design and evaluation of complex interventions.
Intervention effects on smoking and physical activity related process measures in the TARS (Trial of Physical Activity and Reduction of Smoking) RCT involving smokers wishing to reduce but not quit
Aims: The TARS randomised controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of up to 8 weeks of health trainer support focused on increasing physical activity (PA) and reducing smoking on 6-month prolonged abstinence for smokers wishing to reduce but not quit. Here we examine the intervention effects on behaviour change process-related survey measures.
Methods: Participants (N=915) in Plymouth, London, Oxford, and Nottingham were randomised to intervention (n=457) or control (n=458). Questionnaire data were collected at baseline and 3 months (5-point Likert scale – strongly agree to strongly disagree) related to self-reported confidence and importance for reducing and quitting smoking (and for increasing PA), action and coping planning for smoking reduction (and increasing PA), urges to smoke, social support, and using PA as a way of controlling smoking. Data were analysed comparing change from baseline to 3 months between intervention and control using a multi-variable linear regression model controlling for baseline score and pre-specified variables.
Results: The intervention had significant positive effects on 10 (out of 11) smoking-related psychological measures (p<0.001) and five (out of seven) PA measures (p<0.01), including using PA as a way to control smoking behaviour (p=0.001). Importance of quitting, importance of PA, and a measure of social support for PA were the only measures that showed no significant effects (p>0.05). Conclusions: Behavioural support to increase PA and reduce smoking had positive effects on most measures of behaviour change processes linked to the intervention logic model over 3 months, which supports their causal role in reducing smoking and increasing PA.