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The effect of tobacco and alcohol consumption on poverty in the UK

Nyakutsikwa, Blessing; Britton, John; Langley, Tessa

Authors

Blessing Nyakutsikwa

John Britton



Abstract

Background and Aims: Tobacco and alcohol use are major risk factors for premature mortality and morbidity. Tobacco and alcohol expenditure may also exacerbate poverty. This study aimed to estimate the financial impact of tobacco and alcohol consumption in low income households in the UK.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: UK.

Participants: A sample of 5,031 households participating in the 2016-17 Living Costs and Food Survey.

Measurements: Weekly household income and expenditure on tobacco and alcohol; proportion of households with expenditure on tobacco and alcohol overall, by income decile and in households in relative poverty (below 60% of the median household income). Estimates were extrapolated using population data to estimate the number of UK households, adults and children that would be classified as living in relative poverty on the basis of net income after subtracting tobacco or alcohol expenditure (‘tobacco and alcohol expenditure-adjusted poverty’).

Findings: Spending on alcohol was more common in high income groups; 83% of households in the highest and 47% in the lowest income decile purchased alcohol. The reverse was true for tobacco, which was purchased by 8% and 24% of households in the highest and lowest income deciles respectively. Twenty-three percent of households in relative poverty purchased tobacco and 49% alcohol, with a median expenditure of £12.50 and £9.55 per week respectively. A total of 320,000 households comprising 590,000 adults and 175,000 children were in alcohol expenditure-adjusted poverty, and 230,000 households, comprising 400,000 adults and 180,000 children in tobacco-expenditure adjusted poverty.

Conclusions: Tobacco and alcohol expenditure appear to exacerbate poverty in low income households in the UK. Hundreds of thousands of additional households would be defined as living in relative poverty based on their income after subtracting their tobacco and alcohol expenditure.

Citation

Nyakutsikwa, B., Britton, J., & Langley, T. (2020). The effect of tobacco and alcohol consumption on poverty in the UK. Addiction, https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15096

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 17, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 25, 2020
Publication Date Apr 25, 2020
Deposit Date Apr 20, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2021
Journal Addiction
Print ISSN 0965-2140
Electronic ISSN 1360-0443
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15096
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/4315669
Publisher URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.15096
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nyakutsikwa, B., Britton, J., and Langley, T. ( 2020) The effect of tobacco and alcohol consumption on poverty in the UK. Addiction, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15096. . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.