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

Kock, Loren, Brown, Jamie, Shahab, Lion, Moore, Graham ORCID:, Horton, Marie and Brose, Leonie 2021. Smoking, distress and COVID-19 in England: cross-sectional population surveys from 2016 to 2020. Preventive Medicine Reports 23 , 10420. 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101420

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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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 2211-3355
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 May 2021
Date of Acceptance: 26 May 2021
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2023 20:20

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