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1.  Sexual orientation identity and tobacco and hazardous alcohol use: findings from a cross-sectional English population survey 
BMJ Open  2017;7(10):e015058.
Objectives
To assess the association between tobacco and hazardous alcohol use and sexual orientation and whether such an association could be explained by other sociodemographic characteristics.
Design
Cross-sectional household survey conducted in 2014–2016.
Setting
England, UK.
Participants
Representative English population sample (pooled n=43 866).
Main outcomes
Sexual orientation identity (lesbian/gay, bisexual, heterosexual, prefer-not-to-say); current tobacco and hazardous alcohol use (defined as Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Score ≥8). All outcomes were self-reported.
Results
Due to interactions between sexual orientation and gender for substance use, analyses were stratified by gender. Tobacco use prevalence was significantly higher among lesbian/gay (women: 24.9%, 95% CI 19.2% to 32.6%; men: 25.9%, 95% CI 21.3% to 31.0%) and bisexual participants (women: 32.4%, 95% CI 25.9% to 39.6%; men: 30.7%, 95% CI 23.7% to 30.7%) and significantly lower for prefer-not-to-say participants in women (15.5%, 95% CI 13.5% to 17.8%) but not men (22.7%, 95% CI 20.3% to 25.3%) compared with heterosexual participants (women: 17.5%, 95% CI 17.0% to 18.0%; men: 20.4%, 95% CI 19.9% to 21.0%; p<0.001 for omnibus test). Similarly, hazardous alcohol use was significantly more prevalent for lesbian/gay (women: 19.0%, 95% CI 14.0% to 25.3%; men: 30.0%, 25.2%–35.3%) and bisexual participants (women: 24.4%, 95% CI 18.7% to 31.3%; men: 24.3%, 95% CI 17.9% to 32.1%) and lower for prefer-not-to-say participants (women: 4.1%, 95% CI 3.0% to 5.4%; men: 13.7%; 95% CI 11.8% to 16.0%) compared with heterosexuals (women: 8.3%, 95% CI 7.9% to 8.7%; men: 18.4%, 95% CI 17.9% to 18.9%; p<0.001 for omnibus test). However, after adjusting for sociodemographic confounders, tobacco use was similar across all sexual orientation groups among both women and men. By contrast, sexual orientation differences in hazardous alcohol use remained even after adjustment among women but not for bisexual and gay men.
Conclusions
In England, higher rates of tobacco use among sexual minority men and women appear to be attributable to other sociodemographic factors. Higher rates of hazardous alcohol use among sexual minority men may also be attributable to these factors, whereas this is not the case for sexual minority women.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015058
PMCID: PMC5665254  PMID: 29074508
Tobacco use; hazardous alcohol use; sexual orientation identity; LGB; epidemiology
2.  Nicotine, carcinogen and toxicant exposure in long-term e-cigarette and nicotine replacement therapy users: a cross-sectional study 
Annals of internal medicine  2017;166(6):390-400.
Background
Given the rapid increase in e-cigarette (EC) popularity and paucity of longitudinal health-related data associated with this, there is an urgent need to assess the potential risks of long-term EC use.
Objective
To compare exposure to nicotine, tobacco-related carcinogens and toxicants among cigarette-only smokers, and smokers and ex-smokers with long-term EC use or with use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT; a product with known safety profile).
Design
Cross-sectional study.
Setting
United Kingdom.
Participants
Five groups were purposively recruited: (1) cigarette-only users, (2) ex-smokers with long-term (≥6 months) EC-only or (3) NRT-only use, and (4) long-term dual cigarette-EC or (5) dual cigarette-NRT users (N=36-37 per group, total N=181).
Measurements
Socio-demographic and smoking characteristics were assessed; participants provided urine and saliva samples, analysed for biomarkers of nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Results
After controlling for confounders, there were no clear group differences in salivary or urinary biomarkers of nicotine intake. EC-only and NRT-only users had significantly lower metabolite levels for TSNAs (including the carcinogenic metabolite 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol, NNAL) and for VOCs (including metabolites of the toxicants acrolein, acrylamide, acrylonitrile, 1,3-butadiene, ethylene oxide) compared with cigarette-only, dual cigarette-EC or cigarette-NRT users. EC-only users had significantly lower NNAL levels than all other groups. Cigarette-only, dual cigarette-NRT and cigarette-EC users had largely similar levels of TSNA and VOC metabolites.
Limitations
Cross-sectional design with self-selected sample.
Conclusions
Ex-smokers with long-term EC-only or NRT-only use may achieve approximately similar nicotine intake to cigarette-only smokers but results were variable. Long-term NRT-only and EC-only use, but not dual use with cigarettes, is associated with substantially reduced levels of measured carcinogens and toxicants relative to cigarette-only smoking.
Primary source of funding
Cancer Research UK (C27061/A16929).
doi:10.7326/M16-1107
PMCID: PMC5362067  PMID: 28166548
electronic cigarettes; nicotine replacement therapy; biomarkers; nicotine; TSNA; VOC; carcinogens; toxicants; harm reduction; long-term use; tobacco control
3.  Association between smoking and alcohol‐related behaviours: a time–series analysis of population trends in England 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2017;112(10):1832-1841.
Abstract
Aims
This paper estimates how far monthly changes in prevalence of cigarette smoking, motivation to quit and attempts to stop smoking have been associated with changes in prevalence of high‐risk drinking, and motivation and attempts to reduce alcohol consumption in England.
Design
Data were used from the Alcohol and Smoking Toolkit Studies between April 2014 and June 2016. These involve monthly household face‐to‐face surveys of representative samples of ~1700 adults in England.
Measurements
Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average with Exogeneous Input (ARIMAX) modelling was used to assess the association over time between monthly prevalence of (a) smoking and high‐risk drinking; (b) high motivation to quit smoking and high motivation to reduce alcohol consumption; and (c) attempts to quit smoking and attempts to reduce alcohol consumption.
Findings
Mean smoking prevalence over the study period was 18.6% and high‐risk drinking prevalence was 13.0%. A decrease of 1% of the series mean smoking prevalence was associated with a reduction of 0.185% of the mean prevalence of high‐risk drinking 2 months later [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.033 to 0.337, P = 0.017]. A statistically significant association was not found between prevalence of high motivation to quit smoking and high motivation to reduce alcohol consumption (β = 0.324, 95% CI = –0.371 to 1.019, P = 0.360) or prevalence of attempts to quit smoking and attempts to reduce alcohol consumption (β = −0.026, 95% CI = –1.348 to 1.296, P = 0.969).
Conclusion
Between 2014 and 2016, monthly changes in prevalence of smoking in England were associated positively with prevalence of high‐risk drinking. There was no significant association between motivation to stop and motivation to reduce alcohol consumption, or attempts to quit smoking and attempts to reduce alcohol consumption.
doi:10.1111/add.13887
PMCID: PMC5600127  PMID: 28556467
Alcohol; ARIMAX; ATS; smoking; STS; time series
4.  Proceedings of the 14th annual conference of INEBRIA 
Holloway, Aisha S. | Ferguson, Jennifer | Landale, Sarah | Cariola, Laura | Newbury-Birch, Dorothy | Flynn, Amy | Knight, John R. | Sherritt, Lon | Harris, Sion K. | O’Donnell, Amy J. | Kaner, Eileen | Hanratty, Barbara | Loree, Amy M. | Yonkers, Kimberly A. | Ondersma, Steven J. | Gilstead-Hayden, Kate | Martino, Steve | Adam, Angeline | Schwartz, Robert P. | Wu, Li-Tzy | Subramaniam, Geetha | Sharma, Gaurav | McNeely, Jennifer | Berman, Anne H. | Kolaas, Karoline | Petersén, Elisabeth | Bendtsen, Preben | Hedman, Erik | Linderoth, Catharina | Müssener, Ulrika | Sinadinovic, Kristina | Spak, Fredrik | Gremyr, Ida | Thurang, Anna | Mitchell, Ann M. | Finnell, Deborah | Savage, Christine L. | Mahmoud, Khadejah F. | Riordan, Benjamin C. | Conner, Tamlin S. | Flett, Jayde A. M. | Scarf, Damian | McRee, Bonnie | Vendetti, Janice | Gallucci, Karen Steinberg | Robaina, Kate | Clark, Brendan J. | Jones, Jacqueline | Reed, Kathryne D. | Hodapp, Rachel M. | Douglas, Ivor | Burnham, Ellen L. | Aagaard, Laura | Cook, Paul F. | Harris, Brett R. | Yu, Jiang | Wolff, Margaret | Rogers, Meighan | Barbosa, Carolina | Wedehase, Brendan J. | Dunlap, Laura J. | Mitchell, Shannon G. | Dusek, Kristi A. | Gryczynski, Jan | Kirk, Arethusa S. | Oros, Marla T. | Hosler, Colleen | O’Grady, Kevin E. | Brown, Barry S. | Angus, Colin | Sherborne, Sidney | Gillespie, Duncan | Meier, Petra | Brennan, Alan | de Vargas, Divane | Soares, Janaina | Castelblanco, Donna | Doran, Kelly M. | Wittman, Ian | Shelley, Donna | Rotrosen, John | Gelberg, Lillian | Edelman, E. Jennifer | Maisto, Stephen A. | Hansen, Nathan B. | Cutter, Christopher J. | Deng, Yanhong | Dziura, James | Fiellin, Lynn E. | O’Connor, Patrick G. | Bedimo, Roger | Gibert, Cynthia | Marconi, Vincent C. | Rimland, David | Rodriguez-Barradas, Maria C. | Simberkoff, Michael S. | Justice, Amy C. | Bryant, Kendall J. | Fiellin, David A. | Giles, Emma L. | Coulton, Simon | Deluca, Paolo | Drummond, Colin | Howel, Denise | McColl, Elaine | McGovern, Ruth | Scott, Stephanie | Stamp, Elaine | Sumnall, Harry | Vale, Luke | Alabani, Viviana | Atkinson, Amanda | Boniface, Sadie | Frankham, Jo | Gilvarry, Eilish | Hendrie, Nadine | Howe, Nicola | McGeechan, Grant J. | Ramsey, Amy | Stanley, Grant | Clephane, Justine | Gardiner, David | Holmes, John | Martin, Neil | Shevills, Colin | Soutar, Melanie | Chi, Felicia W. | Weisner, Constance | Ross, Thekla B. | Mertens, Jennifer | Sterling, Stacy A. | Shorter, Gillian W. | Heather, Nick | Bray, Jeremy | Cohen, Hildie A. | McPherson, Tracy L. | Adam, Cyrille | López-Pelayo, Hugo | Gual, Antoni | Segura-Garcia, Lidia | Colom, Joan | Ornelas, India J. | Doyle, Suzanne | Donovan, Dennis | Duran, Bonnie | Torres, Vanessa | Gaume, Jacques | Grazioli, Véronique | Fortini, Cristiana | Paroz, Sophie | Bertholet, Nicolas | Daeppen, Jean-Bernard | Satterfield, Jason M. | Gregorich, Steven | Alvarado, Nicholas J. | Muñoz, Ricardo | Kulieva, Gozel | Vijayaraghavan, Maya | Adam, Angéline | Cunningham, John A. | Díaz, Estela | Palacio-Vieira, Jorge | Godinho, Alexandra | Kushir, Vladyslav | O’Brien, Kimberly H. M. | Aguinaldo, Laika D. | Sellers, Christina M. | Spirito, Anthony | Chang, Grace | Blake-Lamb, Tiffany | LaFave, Lea R. Ayers | Thies, Kathleen M. | Pepin, Amy L. | Sprangers, Kara E. | Bradley, Martha | Jorgensen, Shasta | Catano, Nico A. | Murray, Adelaide R. | Schachter, Deborah | Andersen, Ronald M. | Rey, Guillermina Natera | Vahidi, Mani | Rico, Melvin W. | Baumeister, Sebastian E. | Johansson, Magnus | Sinadinovic, Christina | Hermansson, Ulric | Andreasson, Sven | O’Grady, Megan A. | Kapoor, Sandeep | Akkari, Cherine | Bernal, Camila | Pappacena, Kristen | Morley, Jeanne | Auerbach, Mark | Neighbors, Charles J. | Kwon, Nancy | Conigliaro, Joseph | Morgenstern, Jon | Magill, Molly | Apodaca, Timothy R. | Borsari, Brian | Hoadley, Ariel | Scott Tonigan, J. | Moyers, Theresa | Fitzgerald, Niamh M. | Schölin, Lisa | Barticevic, Nicolas | Zuzulich, Soledad | Poblete, Fernando | Norambuena, Pablo | Sacco, Paul | Ting, Laura | Beaulieu, Michele | Wallace, Paul George | Andrews, Matthew | Daley, Kate | Shenker, Don | Gallagher, Louise | Watson, Rod | Weaver, Tim | Bruguera, Pol | Oliveras, Clara | Gavotti, Carolina | Barrio, Pablo | Braddick, Fleur | Miquel, Laia | Suárez, Montse | Bruguera, Carla | Brown, Richard L. | Capell, Julie Whelan | Paul Moberg, D. | Maslowsky, Julie | Saunders, Laura A. | McCormack, Ryan P. | Scheidell, Joy | Gonzalez, Mirelis | Bauroth, Sabrina | Liu, Weiwei | Lindsay, Dawn L. | Lincoln, Piper | Hagle, Holly | Wallhed Finn, Sara | Hammarberg, Anders | Andréasson, Sven | King, Sarah E. | Vargo, Rachael | Kameg, Brayden N. | Acquavita, Shauna P. | Van Loon, Ruth Anne | Smith, Rachel | Brehm, Bonnie J. | Diers, Tiffiny | Kim, Karissa | Barker, Andrea | Jones, Ashley L. | Skinner, Asheley C. | Hinman, Agatha | Svikis, Dace S. | Thacker, Casey L. | Resnicow, Ken | Beatty, Jessica R. | Janisse, James | Puder, Karoline | Bakshi, Ann-Sofie | Milward, Joanna M. | Kimergard, Andreas | Garnett, Claire V. | Crane, David | Brown, Jamie | West, Robert | Michie, Susan | Rosendahl, Ingvar | Andersson, Claes | Gajecki, Mikael | Blankers, Matthijs | Donoghue, Kim | Lynch, Ellen | Maconochie, Ian | Phillips, Ceri | Pockett, Rhys | Phillips, Tom | Patton, R. | Russell, Ian | Strang, John | Stewart, Maureen T. | Quinn, Amity E. | Brolin, Mary | Evans, Brooke | Horgan, Constance M. | Liu, Junqing | McCree, Fern | Kanovsky, Doug | Oberlander, Tyler | Zhang, Huan | Hamlin, Ben | Saunders, Robert | Barton, Mary B. | Scholle, Sarah H. | Santora, Patricia | Bhatt, Chirag | Ahmed, Kazi | Hodgkin, Dominic | Gao, Wenwu | Merrick, Elizabeth L. | Drebing, Charles E. | Larson, Mary Jo | Sharma, Monica | Petry, Nancy M. | Saitz, Richard | Weisner, Constance M. | Young-Wolff, Kelly C. | Lu, Wendy Y. | Blosnich, John R. | Lehavot, Keren | Glass, Joseph E. | Williams, Emily C. | Bensley, Kara M. | Chan, Gary | Dombrowski, Julie | Fortney, John | Rubinsky, Anna D. | Lapham, Gwen T. | Forray, Ariadna | Olmstead, Todd A. | Gilstad-Hayden, Kathryn | Kershaw, Trace | Dillon, Pamela | Weaver, Michael F. | Grekin, Emily R. | Ellis, Jennifer D. | McGoron, Lucy | McGoron, Lucy
doi:10.1186/s13722-017-0087-8
PMCID: PMC5606215
5.  Study protocol of the German Study on Tobacco Use (DEBRA): a national household survey of smoking behaviour and cessation 
BMC Public Health  2017;17:378.
Background
The prevalence of tobacco smoking in Germany is high (~27%). Monitoring of national patterns of smoking behaviour and data on the “real-world” effectiveness of cessation methods are needed to inform policies and develop campaigns aimed at reducing tobacco-related harm. In England, the Smoking Toolkit Study (STS) has been tracking such indicators since 2006, resulting in the adaptation of tobacco control policies. However, findings cannot be directly transferred into the German health policy context. The German Study on Tobacco Use (DEBRA: “Deutsche Befragung zum Rauchverhalten”) aims to provide such nationally representative data.
Methods/Design
In June 2016, the study started collecting data from computer-assisted, face-to-face household interviews in people aged 14 years and older. Over a period of 3 years, a total of ~36,000 respondents will complete the survey with a new sample of ~2000 respondents every 2 months (=18 waves). This sample will report data on demographics and the use of tobacco and electronic (e-)cigarettes. Per wave, about 500–600 people are expected to be current or recent ex-smokers (<12 months since quitting). This sample will answer detailed questions about smoking behaviour, quit attempts, exposure to health professionals’ advice on quitting, and use of cessation aids. Six-month follow-up data will be collected by telephone.
Discussion
The DEBRA study will be an important source of data for tobacco control policies, health strategies, and future research. The methodology is closely aligned to the STS, which will allow comparisons with data from England, a country with one of the lowest smoking prevalence rates in Europe (18%).
Trial registration
This study has been registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00011322) on 25th November 2016.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4328-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4328-2
PMCID: PMC5414339
German Study on Tobacco Use; Epidemiology; Tobacco smoking; E-Cigarette; Household Survey
6.  Health beliefs and desire to improve cholesterol levels among patients with hyperlipidemia 
Patient education and counseling  2015;99(5):830-835.
Objective
Because hyperlipidemia is asymptomatic, many veterans affairs (VA) patients may not perceive it seriously. We assessed key Health Belief model concepts to describe patients’ cholesterol-related health beliefs and examine associations between patient-level factors and desire to improve cholesterol control.
Methods
We used baseline data from an ongoing randomized clinical trial. Eligible patients were receiving care at the Durham VA and had CVD risk-total cholesterol levels >130 mg/dL and/or <80% medication adherence in the previous 12 months. A survey assessed patients’ health beliefs about high cholesterol and self-reported medication adherence. Multivariable logistic regression examined whether there was an association between desire to control cholesterol and cholesterol status.
Results
Approximately 64% (n = 155) of patients perceived high cholesterol as ‘very serious’. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, patients who perceived high cholesterol as ‘very serious’ (OR 2. 26, p = 0.032) and/or with high self-efficacy (OR 4.70, p <0.001) had increased odds of desiring cholesterol control.
Conclusion
The factors most significantly associated with desire to improve cholesterol control were perceiving hyperlipidemia as ‘very serious and self-efficacy for cholesterol control.
Practice implication
Educating patients, with the goal of appropriately increasing their perceived risk of disease, is likely necessary to impact cholesterol control.
doi:10.1016/j.pec.2015.11.025
PMCID: PMC5007622  PMID: 26673107
Hyperlipidemia; United States Department of Veterans Affairs; Health behavior; Disease susceptibility; Medication adherence
7.  Factors Influencing Usability of a Smartphone App to Reduce Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Think Aloud and Interview Studies 
Background
Interventions delivered by smartphone apps have the potential to help drinkers reduce their consumption of alcohol. To optimize engagement and reduce the high rates of attrition associated with the use of digital interventions, it is necessary to ensure that an app’s design and functionality is appropriate for its intended purposes and target population.
Aims
To understand the usability of an app to help people reduce their alcohol consumption.
Method
The app, Drink Less, contains a core module focusing on goal setting, supplemented by five additional modules: self-monitoring and feedback, identity change, cognitive bias re-training, action planning, and social comparison. Two studies were conducted, a “think aloud” study performed with people using the app for the first time and a semistructured interview study performed after users had had access to the app for at least 2 weeks. A thematic analysis of the “think aloud” and interview transcripts was conducted by one coder and verified by a second.
Results
Twenty-four participants, half of whom were women and half from disadvantaged groups, took part in the two studies. Three main themes identified in the data were “Feeling lost and unsure of what to do next,” “Make the app easy to use,” and “Make the app beneficial and rewarding to use.” These themes reflected participants’ need for (i) guidance, particularly when first using the app or when entering data; (ii) the data entry process to be simple and the navigation intuitive; (iii) neither the amount of text nor range of options to be overwhelming; (iv) the app to reward them for effort and progress; and (v) it to be clear how the app could help alcohol reduction goals be reached.
Conclusion
First-time and experienced users want an alcohol reduction app to be easy, rewarding, and beneficial to use. An easy-to-use app would reduce user burden, offer ongoing help, and be esthetically pleasing. A rewarding and beneficial app would provide positive reinforcement, give feedback about progress, and demonstrate credibility. Users need help when first using the app, and they need a compelling reason to continue using it.
doi:10.3389/fpubh.2017.00039
PMCID: PMC5376568
app; digital health; mHealth; alcohol; think aloud; interview study; qualitative
8.  Medication Safety in Clinical Trials: Role of the Pharmacist in Optimizing Practice, Collaboration, and Education to Reduce Errors 
Standardized safety practices for investigational drugs in clinical research protocols are limited and the vast majority of research pharmacists have concerns regarding its safety. Identified areas for medication safety risks include protocol complexity, medication ordering, and the processes for packaging, storage, and dispensing investigational medications. Inclusion of a pharmacist creates multiple mechanisms to promote safety and improve the quality of clinical research. This is accomplished through collaborating in the development of a research protocol, reviewing as a member of an advisory committee, developing mechanisms that contribute to safety, and assuring compliance with local and national regulations and standards. Ultimately, the profession of pharmacy has foundational responsibility for assuring the safe and effective use of medications, including investigational drugs in clinical research. It is through multidisciplinary collaboration that a research study will attain the highest standards for safety and maximize the quality and effectiveness of the data obtained in the clinical trial.
PMCID: PMC5369030
investigational drug service; patient safety; pharmacy practice; research pharmacist; clinical trials
9.  User characteristics of a smartphone app to reduce alcohol consumption 
Digital interventions are available to help people reduce their alcohol consumption, but it is not known who uses these interventions and how this treatment-seeking group compares with the general population of drinkers. The study objective was to compare the socio-demographic and drinking characteristics of users of the ‘Drinks Meter’ smartphone app with the general population of drinkers in England and website users of the same intervention. Data were used from the Drinks Meter app and website, and a nationally representative cross-sectional survey in England (Alcohol Toolkit Study). Participants were drinkers aged 16+ in England. Data were collected on participants’ age, gender, region, sexual orientation, social grade and AUDIT score. Regression analyses were conducted to assess differences in socio-demographic and drinking characteristics between samples. Drinks Meter app users, compared with drinkers of the general population, were younger, more likely to be from the South, not heterosexual, less likely to be of a lower social grade and had a higher mean AUDIT score. Drinks Meter app users were younger than website users and reported greater alcohol consumption and related harms. Drinkers using the Drinks Meter app are more likely to be younger and report greater alcohol consumption and related harms compared with the general population of drinkers in England and website users of the same intervention. Apps that provide feedback on drinking appear to be reaching those who report greater alcohol consumption and related harms.
doi:10.1007/s13142-017-0477-1
PMCID: PMC5684066  PMID: 28315201
Alcohol; User; Smartphone app; Intervention; Digital
10.  Predictors of and reasons for attempts to reduce alcohol intake: A population survey of adults in England 
PLoS ONE  2017;12(3):e0173458.
Objective
This study aimed to assess the predictors among high-risk drinkers in England of attempts to reduce alcohol consumption, the reasons given for these attempts and the association between the various reasons and alcohol consumption.
Method
Data came from 2,800 high-risk drinkers taking part in the Alcohol Toolkit Study (ATS) between March 2014 and November 2016 who were attempting to reduce their alcohol consumption. Participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and were asked questions regarding their socio-demographic characteristics, attempts to cut down and reasons for doing so.
Results
Those cutting down were significantly older (OR 1.01, p<0.001), were more likely to be female (OR 1.32, p<0.05), had higher AUDIT-C scores (OR 1.12, p<0. 001), were less likely to be of white ethnicity (OR 0.64, p<0. 001), and were more likely to reside in the South of England (OR 1.34, p<0. 001). They were also more likely to be of higher occupationally-based social-grades (p<0. 001). The main reported reasons for reducing consumption were: fitness (22.5%), weight loss (20.4%), future health (20.4%), advice from a health-care professional (7.9%) and cost (7.6%). Those reporting the followings reasons for cutting down had higher AUDIT-C scores than those who did not report these reasons: a concern about further health problems (β 0.20, p<0.05), advice from a doctor/health worker (β 0.38, p<0.05), that drinking was too expensive (β 0.42, p<0.01) and detoxification (β 0.42, p<0.01). Lower AUDIT-C scores were noted among those who reported that they knew someone who was cutting down (β -0.67, p<0.05), that there was no reason (β -0.36, p<0.05), or they didn’t know why they were cutting down (β -0.25, p<0.05).
Conclusions
Around a fifth of high-risk drinkers in England report trying to reduce their drinking, particularly older, high-socioeconomic female drinkers from the south of England. Attempts to cut down appear to be driven by a desire to improve health, advice from others and cutting down on the cost of drinking.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173458
PMCID: PMC5344396  PMID: 28278218
11.  Healthier central England or North–South divide? Analysis of national survey data on smoking and high-risk drinking 
BMJ Open  2017;7(3):e014210.
Objectives
This paper compares patterns of smoking and high-risk alcohol use across regions in England, and assesses the impact on these of adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics.
Design
Population survey of 53 922 adults in England aged 16+ taking part in the Alcohol and Smoking Toolkit Studies.
Measures
Participants answered questions regarding their socioeconomic status (SES), gender, age, ethnicity, Government Office Region, smoking status and completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). High-risk drinkers were defined as those with a score of 8 or more (7 or more for women) on the AUDIT.
Results
In unadjusted analyses, relative to the South West, those in the North of England were more likely to smoke, while those from the East of England, South East and London were less likely. After adjustment for sociodemographics, smoking prevalence was no higher in North East (RR 0.97, p>0.05), North West (RR 0.98, p>0.05) or Yorkshire and the Humber (RR 1.03, p>0.05) but was less common in the East and West Midlands (RR 0.86, p<0.001; RR 0.91, p<0.05), East of England (RR 0.86, p<0.001), South East (RR 0.92, p<0.05) and London (RR 0.85, p<0.001). High-risk drinking was more common in the North but was less common in the Midlands, London and East of England. Adjustment for sociodemographics had little effect. There was a higher prevalence in the North East (RR 1.67, p<0.001), North West (RR 1.42, p<0.001) and Yorkshire and the Humber (RR 1.35, p<0.001); lower prevalence in the East Midlands (RR 0.69, p<0.001), West Midlands (RR 0.77, p<0.001), East of England (RR 0.72, p<0.001) and London (RR 0.71, p<0.001); and a similar prevalence in the South East (RR 1.10, p>0.05)
Conclusions
In adjusted analyses, smoking and high-risk drinking appear less common in ‘central England’ than in the rest of the country. Regional differences in smoking, but not those in high-risk drinking, appear to be explained to some extent by sociodemographic disparities.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014210
PMCID: PMC5353327  PMID: 28249851
Alcohol; Tobacco; Regional
12.  A gateway to more productive research on e‐cigarettes? Commentary on a comprehensive framework for evaluating public health impact 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2016;112(1):21-22.
Commentary to: A framework for evaluating the public health impact of e-cigarettes and other vaporized nicotine products
doi:10.1111/add.13449
PMCID: PMC5215645  PMID: 27444564
E‐cigarettes; harm reduction; modelling; public health; smoking; tobacco
13.  Use of aids for smoking cessation and alcohol reduction: A population survey of adults in England 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:1237.
Background
It is important for policy planning to chart the methods smokers and high-risk drinkers use to help them change their behaviour. This study assessed prevalence of use, and characteristics of users, of support for smoking cessation and alcohol reduction in England.
Methods
Data were used from the Smoking and Alcohol Toolkit Studies, which involve monthly face-to-face computer-assisted interviews of adults aged 16+ in England. We included data collected between June 2014 and July 2015 on 1600 smokers who had made at least one quit attempt and 911 high-risk drinkers (defined as scores >8+ on the full AUDIT or 5+ on questions 1–3 of the AUDIT-C) who had made an attempt to cut down in the past 12 months. Participants provided information on their socio-demographic characteristics and use of aids during their most recent quit attempt including pharmacotherapy, face-to-face counselling, telephone support, self-help materials (digital and printed), and complementary medicine.
Results
A total of 60.3% of smokers used aids in the past year, compared with just 14.9% of high-risk drinkers. Use of pharmacotherapy was high among smokers and very low among drinkers (56.0%versus1.2%). Use of other aids was low for both behaviours: face-to-face counselling (2.6%versus4.8%), self-help materials (1.4%versus4.1%) and complementary medicine (1.0%versus0.5%). Use of aids was more common among smokers aged 25–54 compared with 16–24 year olds (25–34,ORadj1.49,p = 0.012; 35–44,ORadj1.93,p < 0.001; 35–44,ORadj1.93,p < 0.001; 45–54,ORadj1.66,p = 0.008), with cigarette consumption >10 relative to <1 (10–20,ORadj2.47,p = 0.011; >20,ORadj4.23,p = 0.001), and less common among ethnic minorities (ORadj0.69,p = 0.026). For alcohol reduction, use of aids was higher among ethnic minority groups (ORadj2.41;p = 0.015), and those of social-grade D/E relative to AB (ORadj2.29,p = 0.012&ORadj3.13,p < 0.001).
Conclusion
In England, the use of pharmacotherapy is prevalent for smoking cessation but not alcohol reduction. Other aids are used at a low rate, with face-to-face counselling being more common for alcohol reduction than smoking cessation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3862-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3862-7
PMCID: PMC5146832  PMID: 27931202
Smoking; Alcohol; High-risk drinking; Smoking Toolkit Study; Alcohol Toolkit Study; Treatment; Pharmacotherapy; Behavioural support
14.  Short-term effects of announcing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge: a trend analysis of monthly survey data in England 
BMJ Open  2016;6(12):e013804.
Objectives
To evaluate short-term effects of publishing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge. To examine where drinkers heard about guidelines over the same period.
Design
Trend analysis of the Alcohol Toolkit Study, a monthly repeat cross-sectional national survey.
Setting
England, November 2015 to May 2016.
Participants
A total of 11 845 adults (18+) living in private households in England.
Intervention
Publication of revised national drinking guidelines in January 2016 which reduced the male guideline by approximately one-third to 14 units per week.
Measurements
Whether drinkers (1) had heard of drinking guidelines (awareness), (2) stated the guideline was above, exactly or below 14 units (knowledge) and (3) reported seeing the stated guideline number of units in the last month in each of 11 locations (exposure). Sociodemographics: sex, age (18–34, 35–64, 65+), social grade (AB, C1C2, DE). Alcohol consumption derived from graduated frequency questions: low risk (<14 units/week), increasing/high risk (14+ units/week).
Results
Following publication of the guidelines, the proportion of drinkers aware of guidelines did not increase from its baseline level of 85.1% (CI 82.7% to 87.1%). However, the proportion of male drinkers saying the guideline was 14 units or less increased from 22.6% (CI 18.9% to 26.7%) in December to 43.3% (CI 38.9% to 47.8%) in January and was at 35.6% (CI 31.6% to 39.9%) in May. Last month exposure to the guidelines was below 25% in all locations except television/radio where exposure increased from 33% (CI 28.8% to 36.2%) in December to 65% (CI 61.2% to 68.3%) in January. Awareness and knowledge of guidelines was lowest in social grade DE and this gap remained after publication.
Conclusions
Publication of new or revised lower risk drinking guidelines can improve drinkers’ knowledge of these guidelines within all sociodemographic groups; however, in the absence of sustained promotional activity, positive effects may not be maintained and social inequalities in awareness and knowledge of guidelines are likely to persist.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013804
PMCID: PMC5168688  PMID: 27909041
Alcohol; Drinking guidelines; Health promotion; Evaluation; Trend analysis
15.  Development of SmokeFree Baby: a smoking cessation smartphone app for pregnant smokers 
Pregnant smokers may benefit from digital smoking cessation interventions, but few have been designed for this population. The aim was to transparently report the development of a smartphone app designed to aid smoking cessation during pregnancy. The development of a smartphone app (‘SmokeFree Baby’) to help pregnant women stop smoking was guided by frameworks for developing complex interventions, including the Medical Research Council (MRC), Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) and Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW). Two integrative behaviour change theories provided the theoretical base. Evidence from the scientific literature and behaviour change techniques (BCTs) from the BCT Taxonomy v1 informed the intervention content. The app was developed around five core modules, each with a distinct intervention target (identity change, stress management, health information, promoting use of face-to-face support and behavioural substitution) and available in a ‘control’ or ‘full’ version. SmokeFree Baby has been developed as part of a multiphase intervention optimization to identify the optimum combination of intervention components to include in smartphone apps to help pregnant smokers stop smoking.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13142-016-0438-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s13142-016-0438-0
PMCID: PMC5110502  PMID: 27699682
Digital interventions; Smartphone application; Behaviour change interventions; Smoking cessation; Pregnant smokers; Incremental development
16.  Deconstructing the Alcohol Harm Paradox: A Population Based Survey of Adults in England 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0160666.
Background
The Alcohol Harm Paradox refers to observations that lower socioeconomic status (SES) groups consume less alcohol but experience more alcohol-related problems. However, SES is a complex concept and its observed relationship to social problems often depends on how it is measured and the demographic groups studied. Thus this study assessed socioeconomic patterning of alcohol consumption and related harm using multiple measures of SES and examined moderation of this patterning by gender and age.
Method
Data were used from the Alcohol Toolkit Study between March and September 2015 on 31,878 adults (16+) living in England. Participants completed the AUDIT which includes alcohol consumption, harm and dependence modules. SES was measured via qualifications, employment, home and car ownership, income and social-grade, plus a composite of these measures. The composite score was coded such that higher scores reflected greater social-disadvantage.
Results
We observed the Alcohol Harm Paradox for the composite SES measure, with a linear negative relationship between SES and AUDIT-Consumption scores (β = -0.036, p<0.001) and a positive relationship between lower SES and AUDIT-Harm (β = 0.022, p<0.001) and AUDIT-Dependence (β = 0.024, p<0.001) scores. Individual measures of SES displayed different, and non-linear, relationships with AUDIT modules. For example, social-grade and income had a u-shaped relationship with AUDIT-Consumption scores while education had an inverse u-shaped relationship. Almost all measures displayed an exponential relationship with AUDIT-Dependence and AUDIT-Harm scores. We identified moderating effects from age and gender, with AUDIT-Dependence scores increasing more steeply with lower SES in men and both AUDIT-Harm and AUDIT-Dependence scores increasing more steeply with lower SES in younger age groups.
Conclusion
Different SES measures appear to influence whether the Alcohol Harm Paradox is observed as a linear trend across SES groups or a phenomenon associated particularly with the most disadvantaged. The paradox also appears more concentrated in men and younger age groups.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160666
PMCID: PMC5040414  PMID: 27682619
17.  Temporal patterns of alcohol consumption and attempts to reduce alcohol intake in England 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:917.
Background
The Alcohol Toolkit Study (ATS) is a monthly survey of approximately 1700 adults per month aged 16 years of age or more in England. We aimed to explore patterns of alcohol consumption and motivation to reduce alcohol use in England throughout the year.
Methods
Data from 38,372 participants who answered questions about alcohol consumption (March 2014 to January 2016) were analysed using weighted regression using the R survey package. Questions assessed alcohol consumption (AUDIT-C) and attempts to reduce consumption.
Results
Sixty-seven percent of participants reported using alcohol, with a small negative trend of about 2 % reduction over 12 months in the studied period (P < 0.01). These include ~25 % higher risk drinkers and ~10 % regular binge drinkers. About 20 % of higher risk drinkers indicated they were attempting to reduce their alcohol consumption. Attempts were lowest in December (−20 %; 95 % CI 0–35 %), but increases significantly in January (+41 %; 95 % CI 16–73 %) compared with other months (P < 0.001), indicating a small net gain; at least in attempts to reduce. However, there was no evidence that the increased motivation in January was accompanied by a reported decrease in consumption or binge drinking events. This could be an artefact of the use of AUDIT questions, but could also reflect a disconnect between attempting to reduce alcohol consumption and subsequent change; maybe as a result of lack of continuing support.
Conclusions
January is associated with moderate increased attempts to reduce alcohol consumption. However, we find little evidence of a change in alcohol consumption. In part, this may be due to temporal insensitivity of the AUDIT questions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3542-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3542-7
PMCID: PMC5009608  PMID: 27585991
18.  Structured Smoking Cessation Training for Medical Students: A Prospective Study 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2016;18(12):2209-2215.
Introduction:
Physician adherence to guideline recommendations regarding the provision of counseling and support for smokers willing to quit is low. A lack of training during undergraduate medical education has been identified as a potential cause. This prospective intervention study evaluated a novel teaching module for medical students.
Methods:
As part of a 6-week cardiovascular course, 125 fourth-year undergraduate medical students received a multimodal and interactive teaching module on smoking cessation, including online learning material, lectures, seminars, and practical skills training. Short- and medium-term effects on knowledge, skills, attitudes, and self-reported practice were measured using written examinations and an objective structured clinical examination at the end of the module and 6 months later. Results were compared to data obtained from a historical control cohort (n = 70) unexposed to the intervention.
Results:
At the 6-month follow-up, scores in the knowledge test were significantly higher in the intervention than the control group (61.1% vs. 51.7%; p < .001). A similar pattern was observed in the objective structured clinical examination (71.5% vs. 60.5%; p < .001). More students in the intervention than control group agreed that smoking was a chronic disease (83.1% vs. 68.1%; p = .045). The control group was more likely to report recording smoking status (p = .018), but no group difference was detected regarding the report of advising to quit (p = .154).
Conclusions:
A novel teaching module for undergraduate medical students produced a sustained learning outcome in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes but not self-reported practice.
Implications:
Studies across the world have identified considerable knowledge gaps and deficits in practical training with regard to smoking cessation counseling in undergraduate medical students. This paper describes a teaching intervention informed by current recommendations for the design of educational activities aimed at enabling medical students to deliver adequate behavior change counseling. The teaching module was tailored to the needs of a specific healthcare system. Given its effectiveness as demonstrated in this prospective study, a rollout of this intervention in medical schools might have the potential to substantially improve medical students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes in relation to smoking cessation counseling.
doi:10.1093/ntr/ntw191
PMCID: PMC5103940  PMID: 27613926
19.  Characteristics of Postgraduate Year 1 Pharmacy Residency Programs at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers 
Journal of pharmacy practice  2015;28(4):425-429.
Purpose
Although the characteristics of pharmacy postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) residency programs have been examined among large academic medical centers, there are no identified studies comparing the attributes of individual programs in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Administration System. The primary objective of this study was to describe and contrast characteristics of VA PGY1 residency programs.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional survey of VA pharmacy residency programs. An online survey was distributed electronically to residency program directors of VA PGY1 residencies.
Results
Responses from 33 (33%) PGY1 programs were available for the analysis. Programs reported growth over the previous 2 years and expected continued expansion. There was a wide variety of learning opportunities, although experiences were customizable based on residents’ interests. Notably, many programs allowed residents to seek rotations at other locations if specific experiences were not available on-site. Additionally, most programs had a mandatory staffing component and required residents to present the results of residency research projects.
Conclusion
There is a high degree of variability among individual VA facilities with regard to the requirements and opportunities available to PGY1 pharmacy residents. This assessment is able to characterize the currently established residency programs and allows for an active comparison of programs in a nationally integrated health care system.
doi:10.1177/0897190014568386
PMCID: PMC4860905  PMID: 25667211
residency; pharmacy practice; leadership; postgraduate training; Veterans Affairs
20.  Are recent attempts to quit smoking associated with reduced drinking in England? A cross-sectional population survey 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:535.
Background
Alcohol consumption during attempts at smoking cessation can provoke relapse and so smokers are often advised to restrict their alcohol consumption during this time. This study assessed at a population-level whether smokers having recently initiated an attempt to stop smoking are more likely than other smokers to report i) lower alcohol consumption and ii) trying to reduce their alcohol consumption.
Method
Cross-sectional household surveys of 6287 last-year smokers who also completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test consumption questionnaire (AUDIT-C). Respondents who reported attempting to quit smoking in the last week were compared with those who did not. Those with AUDIT-C≥5 were also asked if they were currently trying to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume.
Results
After adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics and current smoking status, smokers who reported a quit attempt within the last week had lower AUDIT-C scores compared with those who did not report an attempt in the last week (βadj = −0.56, 95 % CI = −1.08 to −0.04) and were less likely to be classified as higher risk (AUDIT-C≥5: ORadj = 0.57, 95 % CI = 0.38 to 0.85). The lower AUDIT-C scores appeared to be a result of lower scores on the frequency of ‘binge’ drinking item (βadj = −0.25, 95 % CI = −0.43 to −0.07), with those who reported a quit attempt within the last week compared with those who did not being less likely to binge drink at least weekly (ORadj = 0.54, 95 % CI = 0.29 to 0.999) and more likely to not binge drink at all (ORadj = 1.70, 95 % CI = 1.16 to 2.49). Among smokers with higher risk consumption (AUDIT-C≥5), those who reported an attempt to stop smoking within the last week compared with those who did not were more likely to report trying to reduce their alcohol consumption (ORadj = 2.98, 95 % CI = 1.48 to 6.01).
Conclusion
Smokers who report starting a quit attempt in the last week also report lower alcohol consumption, including less frequent binge drinking, and appear more likely to report currently attempting to reduce their alcohol consumption compared with smokers who do not report a quit attempt in the last week.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3223-6
PMCID: PMC4957412  PMID: 27443348
Alcohol drinking; Attempts; Cutting down; Smoking; Smoking cessation
21.  Evaluating the effectiveness of a smartphone app to reduce excessive alcohol consumption: protocol for a factorial randomised control trial 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:536.
Background
Excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of death and morbidity worldwide and interventions to help people reduce their consumption are needed. Interventions delivered by smartphone apps have the potential to help harmful and hazardous drinkers reduce their consumption of alcohol. However, there has been little evaluation of the effectiveness of existing smartphone interventions.
A systematic review, amongst other methodologies, identified promising modular content that could be delivered by an app: self-monitoring and feedback; action planning; normative feedback; cognitive bias re-training; and identity change. This protocol reports a factorial randomised controlled trial to assess the comparative potential of these five intervention modules to reduce excessive alcohol consumption.
Methods
A between-subject factorial randomised controlled trial. Hazardous and harmful drinkers aged 18 or over who are making a serious attempt to reduce their drinking will be randomised to one of 32 (25) experimental conditions after downloading the ‘Drink Less’ app. Participants complete baseline measures on downloading the app and are contacted after 1-month with a follow-up questionnaire. The primary outcome measure is change in past week consumption of alcohol. Secondary outcome measures are change in AUDIT score, app usage data and usability ratings for the app. A factorial between-subjects ANOVA will be conducted to assess main and interactive effects of the five intervention modules for the primary and secondary outcome measures.
Discussion
This study will establish the extent to which the five intervention modules offered in this app can help reduce hazardous and harmful drinking. This is the first step in optimising and understanding what component parts of an app could help to reduce excessive alcohol consumption. The findings from this study will be used to inform the content of a future integrated treatment app and evaluated against a minimal control in a definitive randomised control trial with long-term outcomes.
Trial registration
ISRCTN40104069 Date of registration: 10/2/2016
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3140-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3140-8
PMCID: PMC4939028  PMID: 27392430
Alcohol; Excessive; RCT; App; Smartphone; BCT; Digital; Drink; Digital; Intervention
22.  Is the use of electronic cigarettes while smoking associated with smoking cessation attempts, cessation and reduced cigarette consumption? A survey with a 1‐year follow‐up 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2015;110(7):1160-1168.
Abstract
Aims
To use a unique longitudinal data set to assess the association between e‐cigarette use while smoking with smoking cessation attempts, cessation and substantial reduction, taking into account frequency of use and key potential confounders.
Design
Web‐based survey, baseline November/December 2012, 1‐year follow‐up in December 2013.
Setting
Great Britain.
Participants
National general population sample of 4064 adult smokers, with 1759 (43%) followed‐up.
Measurements
Main outcome measures were cessation attempt, cessation and substantial reduction (≥50% from baseline to follow‐up) of cigarettes per day (CPD). In logistic regression models, cessation attempt in the last year (analysis n = 1473) and smoking status (n = 1656) at follow‐up were regressed on to baseline e‐cigarette use (none, non‐daily, daily) while adjusting for baseline socio‐demographics, dependence and nicotine replacement (NRT) use. Substantial reduction (n = 1042) was regressed on to follow‐up e‐cigarette use while adjusting for baseline socio‐demographics and dependence and follow‐up NRT use.
Findings
Compared with non‐use, daily e‐cigarette use at baseline was associated with increased cessation attempts [odds ratio (OR) = 2.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.24–3.58, P = 0.006], but not with cessation at follow‐up (OR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.28–1.37, P = 0.24). Non‐daily use was not associated with cessation attempts or cessation. Daily e‐cigarette use at follow‐up was associated with increased odds of substantial reduction (OR = 2.49, 95% CI = 1.14–5.45, P = 0.02), non‐daily use was not.
Conclusions
Daily use of e‐cigarettes while smoking appears to be associated with subsequent increases in rates of attempting to stop smoking and reducing smoking, but not with smoking cessation. Non‐daily use of e‐cigarettes while smoking does not appear to be associated with cessation attempts, cessation or reduced smoking.
doi:10.1111/add.12917
PMCID: PMC4862028  PMID: 25900312
Electronic cigarettes; electronic nicotine delivery systems; harm reduction; smoking cessation; tobacco; quit attempts
23.  Comparison of brief interventions in primary care on smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: a population survey in England 
Background
Brief interventions have a modest but meaningful effect on promoting smoking cessation and reducing excessive alcohol consumption. Guidelines recommend offering such advice opportunistically and regularly but incentives vary between the two behaviours.
Aim
To use representative data from the perspective of patients to compare the prevalence and characteristics of people who smoke or drink excessively and who receive a brief intervention.
Design and setting
Data was from a representative sample of 15 252 adults from household surveys in England.
Method
Recall of brief interventions on smoking and alcohol use, sociodemographic information, and smoking and alcohol consumption patterns were assessed among smokers and those who drink excessively (AUDIT score of ≥8), who visited their GP surgery in the previous year.
Results
Of 1775 smokers, 50.4% recalled receiving brief advice on smoking in the previous year. Smokers receiving advice compared with those who did not were more likely to be older (odds ratio [OR] 17-year increments 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.06 to 1.34), female (OR 1.35, 95% CI =1.10 to 1.65), have a disability (OR 1.44, 95% CI = 1.11 to 1.88), have made more quit attempts in the previous year (compared with no attempts: one attempt, OR 1.65, 95% CI = 1.32 to 2.08; ≥2 attempts, OR 2.02, 95% CI =1.49 to 2.74), and have greater nicotine dependence (OR 1.17, 95% CI =1.05 to 1.31) but were less likely to have no post-16 qualifications (OR 0.81, 95% CI = 0.66 to 1.00). Of 1110 people drinking excessively, 6.5% recalled receiving advice in their GP surgery on their alcohol consumption in the previous year. Those receiving advice compared with those who did not had higher AUDIT scores (OR 1.17, 95% CI =1.12 to 1.23) and were less likely to be female (OR 0.44, 95% CI = 0.23 to 0.87).
Conclusion
Whereas approximately half of smokers in England visiting their GP in the past year report having received advice on cessation, <10% of those who drink excessively report having received advice on their alcohol consumption.
doi:10.3399/bjgp16X683149
PMCID: PMC4684029  PMID: 26719481
alcohol drinking; brief advice; brief intervention; counselling; smoking
24.  Perceived relative harm of electronic cigarettes over time and impact on subsequent use. A survey with 1-year and 2-year follow-ups 
Drug and Alcohol Dependence  2015;157:106-111.
Highlights
•A cohort of smokers and ex-smokers was followed over a period of two years.•Perceived harm of electronic cigarettes relative to cigarettes increased over time.•Smoking cessation ande-cigarette use predicted subsequent perceived relative harm.•Perceived relative harm predicted subsequent use of e-cigarettes in non-users.
Introduction
Media presentations of e-cigarettes may affect perception of the devices which may influence use.
Objectives
To assess in a cohort of past-year smokers (1) if perceived harm of e-cigarettes relative to cigarettes changed over time, (2) predictors of perceived relative harm, (3) if perceived relative harm predicted subsequent e-cigarette use among never-users.
Methods
Longitudinal web-based survey of a general population sample of British smokers and ex-smokers, waves in 2012 (n = 4553), 2013 and 2014 (44%, 31% response rate, respectively). Changes over time were assessed using Friedman and McNemar tests, n = 1204. Perceived relative harm at wave 3 was regressed onto perceived relative harm at waves 1 and 2, while adjusting for socio-demographics and change in smoking and e-cigarette status, n = 1204. Wave 2 e-cigarette use among 1588 wave 1 never-users was regressed onto wave 1 socio-demographics, smoking status and perceived relative harm.
Results
Perceived relative harm changed (χ2 = 20.67, p < 0.001); the proportion perceiving e-cigarettes to be less harmful than cigarettes decreased from 2013 to 2014 (χ2 = 16.55, p < 0.001). Previous perception of e-cigarettes as less harmful, having tried e-cigarettes and having stopped smoking between waves predicted perceiving e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes. Perceiving e-cigarettes to be less harmful than cigarettes predicted subsequent use, adjusting for other characteristics (OR = 1.39; 95% CI: 1.08–1.80, p = 0.011).
Conclusion
Among a cohort of smokers and ex-smokers, accurately perceiving e-cigarettes as less harmful than smoking predicted subsequent e-cigarette use in never-users; this perception declined over time. Clear information on the relative harm of cigarettes and e-cigarettes is needed.
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.10.014
PMCID: PMC4686045  PMID: 26507173
Nicotine; Tobacco; Electronic cigarettes; Harm; Behavior
25.  The effect of angiotensin II receptor blockers on hyperuricemia 
The objective of this review was to explore the efficacy of angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) for the treatment of hyperuricemia in individuals diagnosed with gout or hyperuricemia defined as ⩾7 mg/dl at baseline. A literature search of MEDLINE (1946 to June 2015) and EMBASE (1947 to June 2015) was conducted. The following search terms were used: ‘uric acid’, ‘urate transporter’, ‘gout’, ‘angiotensin II receptor blockers’, ‘hyperuricemia’ and the names for individual ARBs, as well as any combinations of these terms. Studies were excluded that did not explore fractional excretion or serum uric acid as an endpoint, if patients did not have a diagnosis of gout or hyperuricemia at baseline, or if they were non-English language. A total of eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Of the eight studies identified, six explored ARB monotherapy and two studies investigated ARBs as adjunct therapy. Losartan demonstrated statistically significant reductions in serum uric acid levels or increases in fractional excretion of uric acid in all studies, whereas no other ARB reached statistical benefit. The effect of ARBs on the occurrence of gout attacks or other clinical outcomes were not represented. Four studies evaluated safety effects of these agents indicating abnormalities such as minor changes in lab values. In conclusion, losartan is the only ARB that has consistently demonstrated a significant reduction in serum uric acid levels, although the significance of impacting clinical outcomes remains unknown. Losartan appears to be a safe and efficacious agent to lower serum uric acid levels in patients with hyperuricemia.
doi:10.1177/2040622315596119
PMCID: PMC4622312  PMID: 26568810
angiotensin receptor antagonists; hyperuricemia; gout; uric acid; losartan

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