Trends in and factors associated with the adoption of digital aids for smoking cessation and alcohol reduction: A population survey in England

Abstract

Background: Digital smoking cessation and alcohol reduction aids are widely available in England. To estimate their public health impact, researchers need to consider their adoption in the target population. We assessed adoption rates, and characteristics of adopters, of digital smoking cessation and alcohol reduction aids in England. Methods: 3655 smokers and 2998 high-risk drinkers (defined as a score of >4 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption; AUDIT-C) who had made a past-year quit/reduction attempt were surveyed as part of the Smoking and Alcohol Toolkit Studies between January 2015-October 2018. Respondents provided information on socio-demographic characteristics and whether they had used a digital aid in a recent quit/reduction attempt. Results: 2.7 % (95 % CI 2.2%–3.0%) of smokers and 3.6 % (95 % CI 2.9%–4.0%) of drinkers who had made a past-year quit/reduction attempt (26.9 % and 15.3 %, respectively) had used a digital aid. Survey year was not significantly associated with use in smokers or drinkers. None of the baseline characteristics were significantly associated with the use of a digital aid in smokers. Drinkers with high motivation to reduce alcohol consumption (ORadj = 2.49, 95 % CI 1.63–3.77, p <  .001) and higher AUDIT scores (ORadj = 1.07, 95 % CI 1.03–1.11, p < .001) had greater odds of adoption. Conclusions: Digital smoking cessation and alcohol reduction aids are rarely used by smokers or high-risk drinkers attempting to quit/cut down in England, indicating that most of the target population is not being reached. Despite overall digital access improving, adoption rates remained similarly low between 2015–2018.

Publication
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 205, 107653

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