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Smoking, distress and COVID-19 in England: Cross-sectional population surveys from 2016 to 2020

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Loren Kock, Jamie Brown, Lion Shahab, Graham Moore, Marie Horton, Leonie Brose

Original languageEnglish
Article number101420
Pages (from-to)101420
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Volume23
Early online date29 May 2021
DOIs
Accepted/In press25 May 2021
E-pub ahead of print29 May 2021
PublishedSep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests: Authors are members of the UK Prevention Research Partnership, an initiative funded by UK Research and Innovation Councils, the Department of Health and Social Care (England), and the UK devolved administrations and leading health research charities. JB reports receiving grants from Cancer Research UK during the conduct of the study and receiving unrestricted research funding from pharmaceutical companies who manufacture smoking cessation medications to study smoking cessation outside the submitted work. LS reports receiving honoraria for talks, receiving an unrestricted research grant and travel expenses to attend meetings and workshops by pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation products (Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson), and acting as a paid reviewer for grant-awarding bodies and as a paid consultant for health care companies. LK, LB, GM and MH have no competing interests to declare. Funding Information: We are grateful to Cancer Research UK and the UK Prevention Research Partnership for funding the study. Authors are members of the UK Prevention Research Partnership, an initiative funded by UK Research and Innovation Councils, the Department of Health and Social Care (England), and the UK devolved administrations and leading health research charities. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s) Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors

Abstract

Changes in the prevalence of psychological distress among smokers during the COVID-19 pandemic in England may exacerbate existing health inequalities. This study examined the prevalence of psychological distress among smokers following the onset of the pandemic compared with previous years. Cross-sectional data came from a representative survey of smokers (18+) in England (n = 2,927) between April-July in 2016, 2017 and 2020. Logistic regressions estimated the associations between past-month distress across 2016/2017 and 2020, and age. Weighted proportions, chi-squared statistics and stratified logistic regression models were used to compare the distributions of moderate and severe distress, respectively, within socio-demographic and smoking characteristics in 2016/2017 and 2020. Between the combined April-July 2016 and 2017 sample and April-July 2020 the prevalence of moderate and severe distress among past-year smokers increased (2016/2017: moderate 20.66%, 19.02-22.43; severe 8.23%, 7.16-9.47; 2020: moderate 28.79%, 95%CI 26.11-31.60; OR = 2.08, 95%CI 1.34-3.25; severe 11.04%, 9.30-13.12; OR = 2.16, 1.13-4.07). While there was no overall evidence of an interaction between time period and age, young (16-24 years) and middle-age groups (45-54 years) may have experienced greater increases in moderate distress and older age groups (65+ years) increases in severe distress. There were increases of moderate distress among more disadvantaged social grades and both moderate and severe distress among women and those with low cigarette addiction. Between April-July 2016/2017 and April-July 2020 in England there were increases in both moderate and severe distress among smokers. The distribution of distress among smokers differed between 2016/2017 and 2020 and represents a widening of inequalities.

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