Dr Damon Morris and Dr Duncan Gillespie recently attended the Prevention Research Conference and the SPECTRUM Consortium Annual Meeting in Edinburgh.

Prevention Research 2023 was a two day conference held in November 2023 which brought together researchers, practitioners and policy stakeholders to share and discuss the latest research on preventing non-communicable disease and reducing health inequalities across the UK.

SARG’s Damon Morris presented his work on “Estimating the impact of the UK Government’s proposed change to a strength-based alcohol duty system on health outcomes in England: A modelling study”. This presentation focused on the potential impact of the reforms to the UK alcohol duty system that came into effect in August 2023. Dr Morris’s findings suggest that the reform has had a neutral effect on consumption and deaths, but that improvements in health outcomes could be made by raising the relatively low rates of cider duty.

Duncan Gillespie gave a presentation on “The potential smoke-free dividend for smokers across local areas in England: A cross-sectional analysis” which used data from the Smoking Toolkit Study and was supported by UKPRP. The presentation focused on the potential economic gains to local areas if people stopped smoking. The findings suggest that the total value of the dividend across England is around £10 billion, and that the figure is larger for lower income local authorities where smoking prevalence is highest. This indicates that tobacco control can have a significant impact on reducing economic inequalities.

UK Prevention Research Partnership

The conference was organised by the Community of Practice of the UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP), a £50 million initiative set up to fund high quality interdisciplinary research with the potential to drive system-level change to improve population health, and reduce health inequalities. The UKPRP Community of Practice was funded to develop practice, current thinking, and supporting resources to enhance the effectiveness and societal impact of both UKPRP-funded and wider prevention research. This conference was the first opportunity for the UKPRP and wider prevention community to come together face to face since UKPRP was established.

SPECTRUM Consortium

Taking place a day before the Prevention Research Conference, the SPECTRUM Consortium Annual Meeting provided an opportunity for Dr Morris and Dr Gillespie to network with other researchers and policymakers working on alcohol and tobacco control. The meeting also included a review of the Consortium’s progress to date and the finalisation of plans for the remaining period of the grant.

Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To Reduce ineqUalities and harM (SPECTRUM) is a multi-university, multi-agency research consortium focusing on the commercial determinants of health and health inequalities. It is funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership.