Sarah is a Principal Research Fellow in the UCL Alcohol and Tobacco Research Group. Her work focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of smoking cessation aids and interventions on an individual and population level. Key advances resulting from her recent work include an evaluation of the real-world effectiveness of all the major quitting aids; meta-analysis of relapse from smoking cessation pharmacotherapies; quantification of the decline in cigarette consumption in England; evaluation of a London-based cessation campaign; analysis of effects of e-cigarette use; and investigation of smoking and Covid-19 relevant outcomes (e.g. infection and vaccine intentions).
Sarah communicates the latest science and advocates for evidence-based policy and practice through engagement with policy-makers, healthcare professionals, and the public. She sits on Action on Smoking and Health’s advisory council, the London Smoking Cessation Transformation Programme board, and is an academic editor at Addiction.
Quitting in the time of Covid? Associations of the pandemic with changes in smoking, drinking, and quitting in England
In order to suppress transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, governments around the world implemented guidelines and legislation to restrict social interaction, which may have affected smoking and drinking behaviour in various ways. The Smoking and Alcohol Toolkit Studies, ongoing monthly cross-sectional surveys representative of the adult population in England, pre-date the Covid-19 pandemic and thus provide the opportunity to evaluate the impact of lockdown restrictions on smoking and drinking behaviour. Using data from 36,980 respondents between August 2018 and July 2020, we estimated changes in smoking, drinking, and quitting behaviour from before to during the first Covid-19 lockdown in England. Smoking outcomes were smoking prevalence, cessation, quit attempts, quit success, and use of evidence-based or remote cessation support. Drinking outcomes were high-risk drinking prevalence, alcohol reduction attempts, and use of evidence-based or remote support. We also looked at whether changes were moderated by age, sex, or occupational social grade. In this talk, I will present our findings and discuss their implications for public health.