Alcohol Toolkit Study

Principal Investigator
Professor Susan Michie, UCL
Professor Robert West (UCL), Dr Jamie Brown (UCL), Professor Alan Brennan (University of Sheffield), Professor Matthew Hickman (University of Bristol), Dr John Holmes (University of Sheffield), Professor Eileen Kaner (University of Newcastle)
Additional UCL team members
Dr Emma Beard
Project start and end dates
Currently funded March 2014 - March 2017
Funder NIHR School for Public Health Research & Society for Study of Addiction
Project website

Project details


Since March 2014, the Alcohol Toolkit Study (ATS) has provided monthly tracking data on alcohol consumption and harm, with important trends published monthly on a dedicated website: The ATS consists of cross-sectional household, computer-assisted interviews of representative samples of adults in England aged 16+. Each month a new sample of approximately 1800 adults complete the survey (~n = 21,600 per year). All respondents who consent to be followed-up are asked to complete a telephone survey 6 months later. The ATS complements the ‘Smoking Toolkit Study’ (STS), which has been tracking key performance indicators relating to smoking since 2006.

The primary objective of the ATS is to evaluate the impact of national and local alcohol control policies and interventions. A secondary objective is to improve understanding of population level factors influencing alcohol consumption.

The ATS has already been used to compare the receipt of brief advice among smokers and high-risk drinkers (Brown et al, 2016a), to assess whether attempts to quit smoking are associated with reduced drinking (Brown et al, in press), and to characterise the Alcohol Harm Paradox (Beard et al, 2016). On-going projects include assessments of i) temporal trends in attempts to cut down, iv) the sources of regional differences in alcohol consumption, iii) the predictors of attempt to reduce alcohol consumption and use of aids and v) the effectiveness of promotional campaigns associated with revised UK drinking guidelines.

The ATS has involved collaboration across five sites (UCL, Bristol, LSHTM, Newcastle & ScHARR).


Beard E, Brown J, West R, Acton C, Brennan A, Drummond C, Hickman M, Holmes J, Kaner E, Lock K, Walmsley M, Michie S. (2015). Protocol for a national monthly survey of alcohol use in England with 6-month follow-up: 'The Alcohol Toolkit Study' Health behavior, health promotion and society. BMC Public Health, 15 (1).

Brown J, West R, Angus C, Beard E, Brennan A, Drummond C, Hickman M, Holmes J, Kaner E, Michie S. (2016). Comparison of brief interventions in primary care on smoking and excessive alcohol consumption in England: a population survey. British Journal of General Practice. 66(642), e1-9.

Brown J, West R, Beard E, Brennan A, Drummond C, Gillespie D, Hickman M, Holmes J, Kaner E, Michie S. Are recent attempts to quit smoking associated with reduced drinking in England? A cross-sectional population survey. BMC Public Health (in press).

Beard, E., Brown J, West R, Holmes J, Kaner E, Meier P, Michie, S. (2016). Characterising the alcohol harm paradox: a population-based survey of adults in England. Lancet, 386:S23