Alcohol Policy in Practice | Continuing Professional Development Course | 11th-13th September 2018

Following the successful Alcohol CPD courses held in 2014-2017; we are delighted to announce the line-up for our 2018 course, featuring some exciting new inputs!

This year’s course will feature inputs from Prof. Anna Gilmore and colleagues from the University of Bath, Dr Carol Emslie from Glasgow Caledonian University, Dr James Nicholls from Alcohol Research UK, and Professor Karine Gallopel-Morvan from the EHESP School of Public Health, France. We also welcome the return of highly-rated inputs from leading experts such as Katherine Brown from the Institute of Alcohol Studies and Colin Shevills of Balance North East.

What previous participants said:

“Great range of content and world-class speakers. Organisers did an amazing job including looking after us all while we were here. The mix of lectures / Q & As / panel discussions was great. Really worth taking time away from work/home to attend this.”
“Extremely informative course and relevant to current alcohol policy challenges. Good venue, convenient location and lovely setting. Module well organised and brilliant range of speakers.”
“Thank you very much. It was a great privilege to listen and attend this course. Lectures and lecturers were outstanding.”
“Very informative useful training, well worth my time and travel.”
“Wonderful networking opportunity.”
“Thank you for such a brilliant training event – the content was spot on, all the presentations and sessions were really, really good and I came away feeling that I had learned masses: a rich diet of fact and opinion. I can honestly say that I have rarely – if ever – enjoyed such an event quite as much as this one.”

Anyone wishing to gain an in-depth understanding and up to date insight into evidence and innovative practice in alcohol policy in the UK and internationally.
Previous participants have included people working in public health, local and national alcohol policy, or alcohol research; from Iceland to New Zealand.
Places are filling up fast and the early-bird rate applies until Friday 15th June 2018! 

Apply Here!

Society for the Study of Addiction – Annual Conference 2017

9th – 10th November 2017
Crowne Plaza, Newcastle, UK

Confirmed sessions include:

  • Sport & exercise in addiction and recovery with personal reflections from Clarke Carlisle.
  • End of life care for people with substance problems.
  • The psychedelic renaissance in addiction treatment.
  • Pathways to amphetamine type stimulant use.



‘This Society believes it is appropriate to expand the concept of addiction to behaviours such as internet use’

With Professor Robert West & Professor Mark Griffiths

SSA PhD Symposium 2017

New for 2017, the SSA’s PhD Symposium will be held the day before our annual Conference, in the same venue.

The SSA’s symposium for PhD students is now in its ninth year. This event aims to bring together PhD students studying addiction-related topics so they can network, present their work in a low-key, supportive environment and share their ups and downs. It welcomes full and part-time students, studying in a range of disciplines including social sciences, laboratory sciences and health services research. The day includes presentations from students at various stages in the PhD process and some close to or who have recently submitted their thesis.

There is a social event in the evening of the PhD Symposium, and throughout the day there is plenty of opportunity to talk to other delegates.


For more information about this event please visit:


Photos from the UKCRC conference June 2017 – Progress & Pathways

The UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence are building academic capacity, increasing infrastructure and promoting multi-disciplinary working in public health research in the UK. The Centres are bringing leading research experts together with practitioners, policy makers and wider stakeholders to tackle complex public health issues.

The seventh annual UKCRC Centres conference was co-hosted by DECIPHer, Fuse, and the Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland, in partnership with CEDAR, UKCTAS and SCPHRP. This year the event focused on the successes of the UKCRC initiative over the last nine years, showcasing the achievements of the public health research Centres in relation to three themes:

  • capacity development
  • systems change and partnerships; and
  • impact through innovation.

The one day conference was an opportunity for public health researchers, policy makers, practitioners and funders across the UK to exchange knowledge on world class research, innovative public health practices and successful collaborations. Researchers from UKCTAS presented at the conference on a number of different topic including, harm reduction, e-cigarettes, public engagement and development of the UK’s drinking guidelines.

Below are a few pictures from the event, more can be seen on our twitter feed.

Prof Linda Bauld on E-cigarette use during pregnancy at GFN 2017

Global Forum on Nicotine 2017 – ‘Reducing Harm, Saving Lives’

E-cigarette use during pregnancy – What do we know?

At the June Global Forum on Nicotine event Professor Linda Bauld from the University of Stirling and Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, presented an update on e-cigarette use during pregnancy. In the presentation Linda highlights the latest research, a brief overview of smoking in pregnancy and why pregnant women who are still smoking should be encouraged to switch to e-cigarettes.

External link for video: E-cigarette use during pregnancy – Professor Linda Bauld

Other links:

Smokefree action’s info-graphic on e-cigarettes in pregnancy

To see other presentations from the conference click here.

Latest press release from UKCTAS:

Vaping may help explain the record fall in UK smoking rates


Introducing a new International Workshop: The Ubiquity of Alcohol – 20/09/2017

We are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new international workshop focusing on the ubiquity of alcohol.

Addressing Marketing, Availability and Industry Influence:

Alcohol is no ordinary commodity but its presence and marketing seem ubiquitous. In this workshop, we will explore how policymakers, public health experts and researchers are responding to industry efforts to expand the presence and normality of alcohol in our lives. With inputs from leading international researchers and advocates we will explore alcohol marketing and availability in a digital age; industry manoeuvres, and potential countermeasures.

This years workshop will feature sessions from a variety of speakers including a session on Alcohol Marketing and the loi Évin, which is a French alcohol and tobacco policy that was passed in 1991. In this session Nathan Critchlow from the University of Stirling and Prof Karine Gallopel-Morvan from the EHESP School of Public Health, France will look at consumer marketing of alcohol brands in a digital age, controlling alcohol advertising and lessons learnt from the loi Évin.

We also have inputs from a variety of speakers from a number of organisations that focus on alcohol harm, including Jon Foster from the Institute of Alcohol Studies and Alison Douglas & Laura Mahon from Alcohol Focus Scotland.

We are also pleased to announce that Prof. Mike Daube from Curtin University, Australia will be joining us to discuss advocacy on alcohol advertising and the influence of the alcohol industry. To discuss the alcohol industry in more detail we also welcome Prof. Jeff Collin from the University of Edinburgh. Jeff is a regular speaker at the Alcohol Policy in Practice CPD and provides a deep insight into the alcohol industry actions.

The Ubiquity of Alcohol

Location: University of Stirling

Date: Wednesday 20th September

Cost: Standalone workshop cost: £150.00


This workshop is included in our 4 day Alcohol Policy in Practice CPD course we run every September, to find out more information about this course and it’s content please click here.


Kettil Bruun Society 43rd Annual Alcohol Symposium | Sheffield 5-9th June, 2017

The 43rd annual symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society is hosted by the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield. The symposium will be held in the Inox Dine area of the Student’s Union building.

For information about the Kettil Bruun Society, the Symposium, and to register, submit abstracts and book social tours, please click here.

To go straight to registration, please click here.

The conference is generously supported by the Insitute for Alcohol Studies, Alcohol Research UK, and the Society for the Study of Addiction.

The Kettil Bruun Society (KBS):

The principal aims of the Kettil Bruun Society (KBS) are to investigate social, epidemiological and cross-cultural research on alcohol use, to promote the exchange of scientific knowledge and experiences among researchers from various disciplines and to encourage international collaboration. The comparison of social and epidemiological developments found in different countries makes it possible to disentangle major trends from underlying patterns of alcohol use. This is particularly useful for the development of effective strategies to regulate alcohol use – an aspect which is of great interest to many countries.

The Symposium:

The primary purpose of the symposium is to provide a forum for researchers involved in studies on alcohol to exchange ideas about their ongoing research. The scope of the symposium includes studies of determinants and consequences of drinking, drinking culture and drinking patterns, social and institutional responses to drinking related harms, prevention and care. Empirical research, theoretical papers and reviews of the literature are welcome. Social and epidemiological studies have to be interpreted in a broad context as they include research in a variety of disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, criminology, economics, history and other sciences. Papers on other forms of substance use such as tobacco and drugs are also accepted, particularly papers considering the way they relate to alcohol use.

The symposium focuses on the discussion of papers that are pre-circulated electronically on this website. The author introduces the paper in a 10-minute segment, followed by prepared comments from a discussant and general audience participation. Any person submitting a paper may be asked to be a discussant or chair of a session.


Please submit an abstract by 20 January 2017. The word limit for the abstract is 250 words and you should also include a conflict of interest statement and a maximum of three keywords (these are not included in the word count). For reports of empirical research, the abstract should be structured into sections: introduction, methods, results and conclusion.

All abstracts must include a conflict of interest statement. This should identify any author who has a relationship (financial or otherwise) which could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest and give a full disclosure of this relationship.  If there are no conflicts of interest to report, please write ‘None’.

If you know in advance that you will only be able to attend the conference on certain days then please use the option in the submission form to indicate this and we will try to accommodate you when scheduling sessions.


UKCTAS Early Career Researcher Day – 13/07/2016

Within UKCTAS we have a large number of researchers who are in the early stages of their career. One of the main objectives of the centre is to engage, recruit, train and develop new researchers. It is for this reason that the ECR group meet a few times every year to discuss the work of individual researchers in alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarette research.

The most recent meeting on the 13th July 2016 was a great success, with updates from individuals and information for academics who’re looking to forward their career in this area of research.

Firstly, we had presentations by Amy Fuller (Nottingham), Jay Duckworth (Liverpool) and David Troy (Bristol) updating us on the work happening at their institutions.

Current studies include:

  • National Institute for Health research funded ‘Hospital to Homes’ trial to help smokers remain abstinent following leaving hospital.
  • Evaluation of tobacco control policy, through a DH Policy Research Programme funded grant and a Cancer Research UK fellowship, both recently awarded.
  • Cancer Research UK funded evaluation of e-cigarette users and shop services in the East Midlands.
  • PhD work includes
    – assessing the implementation of tobacco dependent treatment policies internationally
    – assessing an anti-tobacco intervention within child residential homes for children
    – exploring patterns and perceptions of university student drinking
    – assessing the hazardous effects of alcohol on cancer
    – epidemiology of alcohol use

A new Peer Support Group will be established in September 2016, which will support and advise PhD students and junior researchers.
More information-

This group specialises in the psychological basis of alcohol use.
Recently completed and published work includes:

  • assessing whether attentional bias is clinically relevant and, if so, how best to measure it
  • assessing whether brief personalised interventions help cut alcohol intake in students
  • how we can effectively train peoples’ behaviour and even cognitive biases in order to help them cut down on harmful behaviours such as excessive alcohol use.

More information –

This group are conducting the following work:

  • investigating the effects of glass shape on liquid volume requirements – findings show that users are underestimating volumes in curved glasses as opposed to straight glasses
  • investigating the effect of accurate volume information on alcohol consumption
  • investigating the effect of nucleation (where gaseous substances such as CO2 are released) on the drinking experience of lager – findings show that greater gaseous release appears to make the drink more physically appealing
  • conducting eye tracking experiment to measure attention to health warnings after changing the features of these warnings.
  • looking at the impact of unit & calorie labelling on alcohol consumption, craving & drink enjoyment.

More information –

Read more here!

The international symposium looking at Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems & Smoking Cessation

La Rochelle – France

December 1st & 2nd, 2016

Tobacco will be the leading cause of death in the 21st century, and projections by the World Health Organization (WHO) are nothing short of alarming: 600 million deaths world-wide. The WHO considers smoking as “one of the most serious threats that ever faced mankind”.
The e-cig symposium was created in this context and will present the latest research results on the potential of new electronic nicotine delivery devices in the form of electronic cigarettes, and more broadly, of aerosol therapy. Devices which, for the first time, may reveal potentially effective treatment solutions to stop smoking with confort and pleasure.
The e-cig symposium has clear objectives : gathering medical, scientific, and technical research to review and summarise the studies done on electronic cigarettes, and more globally on electronic nicotine delivery devices used as an alternative to tobacco smoking.
The e-cig event will:
  • present the latest research results on the potential of new electronic nicotine delivery devices in the form of electronic cigarettes, and more broadly, of aerosol therapy. Devices which, for the first time, may reveal potentially effective treatment solutions  to quit smoking with comfort and pleasure.
  • provide the latest research developments on the effectiveness and safety evaluation methods of electronic cigarettes, as well as on the standards and regulations of these products.
  • gather both public and private physicians and researchers working on topics directly or indirectly related to the delivery of nicotine and smoking cessation.

Who’s going to be there?

attendees.pngCall for communications is open: Be part of the e-cig panel speakers : +60 oral communications will be selected from the call for papers. Submit your paper below!

Program at a glance | Submit your abstract | More information

Summary of day two of the #ukctasMVD researcher links workshop in Uruguay

On day two of the workshop we discussed interventions to reduce tobacco and alcohol use in pregnancy. Michael Ussher and Laura Lambi gave overviews of the situation in tobacco, and Sally Marlow and Gabriel Rossi described the situation as it stands for alcohol.

Interventions to reduce smoking include:

  • Pharmacotherapy
  • E-cigarettes
  • Financial incentives
  • Exercise

Each has varying levels of success, however exercise appears not to be effective for pregnant smokers as having to take additional exercise is often seen as an addition burden on women already struggling to adapt to being pregnant. No clear evidence on e-cigarettes in pregnancy exists to date but this is an important area for research in countries were they are available.

Psycho-social interventions include:

  • Counselling
  • Feedback
  • Social support
  • Health education
  • Internet
  • Telephone Quitlines

Again, each has varying levels of success, often depending on the context/country of delivery. The key message is that when interventions are combined (multiple) or tailored to specific groups, these are more likely to be effective.

Laura added that in Uruguay when interventions involve a group context these tend not to be popular, as it involves exposure to others, so we need to be determine whether interventions will be ‘culturally acceptable’.

Sally Marlow then gave some background into the topic of alcohol use and misuse. Alcohol use has been classified into 3 terms:
‘Hazardous drinking – the lowest end of the spectrum, and can be within ‘safe’ levels
‘Harmful drinking’ – this falls above safe levels, and can cause harm
‘Dependence’ – signifying addiction to alcohol, this is the most complex of the definitions.

It is important to realise that ‘alcohol use disorders’ does not just relate to consumption, but also patterns of drinking and the effect on a person’s life.

It is difficult to assess the levels of harmful drinking in pregnancy merely from the use of maternal self-report and study of animal models.

Gabriel Rossi then covered recent policy developments in Uruguay and explained a draft bill in 2008 with various alcohol control measures was not debated in parliament, partly or mostly due to industry lobbying. However, in 2016 the Presidential Commission will debate tax and advertising and the regulation of times when alcohol can be sold. Additionally, the Ministry of Health plans to introduce education campaigns on the dangers of excessive drinking.

In South America, consumption is highest in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. In Uruguay, alcohol is a problem in youth, with a study showing that nearly 1 on 4 high school students had experienced intoxication in the previous 14 days, while the average age this group started drinking was 12.8 years of age. Alcohol remains the most popular drug in this group, followed by marijuana, energisers (energy drinks) and tobacco.

With regard to UK population-based interventions, Sally proceeded to summarise the recommendations from the University of Stirling and the Alcohol Health Alliances’ Health First (2013) report which examined evidence for population-based policies.

Poor progress has been made in current UK policy.

There has been resistance to minimum unit pricing, with pressure from the alcohol industry and the UK Government have backtracked on a pledge to introduce it. Scotland has made progress with reduced drinking limits for drivers but no change is expected in the other UK regions of England, Wales and N Ireland (although a private members bill is being considered in the House of Lords).

Funding for alcohol treatment services has been cut, and in some cases alcohol has been amalgamated into drug treatment services that may deter some potential users needing support.

The most relevant policies include:

1) Early identification of alcohol dependency and brief advice

2) Access to specialist alcohol services for those who need it.

However, ‘one size does not fit all’ applies here, as pregnant women vary in socio-economic status and other demographics, level of alcohol addiction and age, and it may require several interventions to effectively reduce alcohol use. Indeed, interventions may need to be different for each level of alcohol misuse – any, hazardous, harmful and dependency.

There is also the stigma of being known by medical services in fear of social services or similar agency removing the woman’s children.

New recommended safe drinking guidelines in the UK were introduced in January 2016, where pregnant women are advised to avoid alcohol completely.

The World Health Organisation have published guidelines on substance use in pregnancy, that includes alcohol, and for the prevention and management of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure in pregnancy. Linda Bauld and Fernando Althabe briefly described these guidelines, which have 18 and 9 recommendations respectively, with varying levels of evidence attached to each. These recommendations are highly applicable to implementation science.

The workshop participants were then split into four groups – two for alcohol, two for tobacco, where each presented an aspect of their work, followed by discussion, which was then relayed back to the whole group at the end of the day’s programme.

Post written by Graeme Docherty and Linda Bauld.

‘Researcher links workshop gets underway in Uruguay! – Smoking/Alcohol use in Pregnancy’

Following a successful grant application, a group of UKCTAS researchers, have in collaboration with colleagues in Uruguay’s University of the Republic organised a workshop to explore how research into smoking and alcohol use in pregnancy can be used to develop and implement effective policies to curb the use of these substances, which remain a problem in many parts of the world, including the UK and Uruguay.

The workshop took place in the Hygiene Institute (part of the University’s medical faculty) in Montevideo on 22-25 February 2016.

Day 1 of the workshop was opened by Professor Alicia Aleman, the Uruguayan coordinator, with short talks from the Dean of the Medical School and representatives from the British Council and British Embassy, both having contributed funding to the event. Each emphasised the public health importance of tobacco and alcohol use in pregnancy, and in order to strengthen health policies, it was important to have international collaborations, and it was the aim of this workshop to create and strengthen such links between the UK and Uruguay.


Each of those present were asked to introduce themselves, demonstrating a variety of backgrounds and experience to enrich the workshop,  with expertise split fairly evenly between tobacco and alcohol.

Professor Linda Bauld, the UK coordinator, then explained the aims and objectives of the workshop. Although there has been success at the population level, progress has been slow in the area of pregnancy and this is especially a problem in poorer communities in both countries. This was also an opportunity to utilise the wider UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies (, a strategic network of tobacco and alcohol researchers, which opens further collaboration opportunities in the UK.

The main objective of the workshop is to apply implementation science frameworks and theories to participants’ area of interest to encourage:

– Collaborations
– Joint publications
– Commentaries
– Policy work

It is intended this will lead to:

1) increased knowledge and awareness among the participants.

2) facilitate the development of future proposals.

3) the formation of a UK/Uruguay research network.

A light hearted quiz on tobacco and alcohol in pregnancy followed, which in itself was informative, especially for those with little experience of one of these topics.

One of the objectives of the workshop is to identify frameworks and theories than could assist with successful implementation of interventions. This is sometimes known as ‘implementation science’.  In his talk, Professor Fernando Althabe  from the Institute of Clinical Effectiveness and Public Health in Buenos Aires gave an introduction to implementation science in the context of maternal health.

He began by briefly describing the situation in Latin America in relation to pregnancy and birth facilities; with 75% living in urban areas, 84% of pregnant women have more than 4 antenatal visits from midwives. Unlike the UK where midwives mostly attend the deliveries, in Uruguay a physician is normally present. 90% of deliveries are within public health facilities and the caesarean section rate is around 35%, which is higher than in the UK.

Fernando then raised the following questions:
– How do we get policymakers to put recommendations into practice?
– What are the best ways of utilising an effective intervention?,

He added that it was important to study methods to promote the uptake of research findings.

He also provided a useful summary of the various terms used to describe implementation research. The terminology can vary in different parts of the world – including quality improvement research, knowledge translation and dissemination research but all these terms relate to a similar approach. Particular ‘areas’ of research often have a strong focus on implementation including health services and health systems research. He concluded by reflecting on why focusing on implementation is so important to reducing smoking and harmful use of alcohol as we often have the evidence but simply don’t use it or learn how to apply (or not apply) it in health and care practice.

The remainder of day 1 focused on an overview of tobacco and alcohol use internationally and then in more detail on figures from the UK and Uruguay presented by Linda Bauld, Alicia Aleman and Sally Marlow.

Participants attending from the UK and Uruguay then had an opportunity to present their own research, with day 1’s break out sessions focusing on the causes and consequences of tobacco and alcohol use in pregnancy. The work presented varied from lab-based studies on biomarkers to surveys and cohort studies and qualitative research. A lively discussion followed each session on similarities and differences between the UK and Uruguay as well as reflections on evidence from other countries.

More to follow as the week goes on!

Follow the workshops progress on twitter using #ukctasMVD