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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

'The smoking toolkit study': a national study of smoking and smoking cessation in England

Jennifer A Fidler1*, Lion Shahab1, Oliver West2, Martin J Jarvis1, Andy McEwen1, John A Stapleton1, Eleni Vangeli1 and Robert West1

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London, London, UK

2 Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:479  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-479

Published: 18 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Up-to-date data tracking of national smoking patterns and cessation-related behaviour is required to evaluate and inform tobacco control strategies. The Smoking Toolkit Study (STS) was designed for this role. This paper describes the methodology of the STS and examines as far as possible the representativeness of the samples.

Methods

The STS consists of monthly, cross sectional household interviews of adults aged 16 and over in England with smokers and recent ex-smokers in each monthly wave followed up by postal questionnaires three and six months later. Between November 2006 and December 2010 the baseline survey was completed by 90,568 participants. STS demographic, prevalence and cigarette consumption estimates are compared with those from the Health Survey for England (HSE) and the General Lifestyle Survey (GLF) for 2007-2009.

Results

Smoking prevalence estimates of all the surveys were similar from 2008 onwards (e.g 2008 STS = 22.0%, 95% C.I. = 21.4% to 22.6%, HSE = 21.7%, 95% C.I. = 20.9% to 22.6%, GLF = 20.8%, 95% C.I. = 19.7% to 21.9%), although there was heterogeneity in 2007 (chi-square = 50.30, p < 0.001). Some differences were observed across surveys within sociodemographic sub-groups, although largely in 2007. Cigarette consumption was virtually identical in all surveys and years.

Conclusion

There is reason to believe that the STS findings (see http://www.smokinginengland.info webcite) are generalisable to the adult population of England.