Research

Glass shape influences drinking behaviours in three laboratory experiments

Reducing consumption of drinks which contain high levels of sugar or alcohol could improve population health. There is increasing interest in changing behaviour by changing cues in environments – sometimes called nudging. The shape of a glass is one such cue that can influence how much we drink. Published in Scientific Reports on 7th August 2020, this paper presents three laboratory experiments investigating the impact of glass shape (straight-sided vs outward-sloped) on drinking soft drinks. Read more

Do face coverings create a false sense of security?

Face coverings, if worn correctly, can reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Concerns have been raised, however, that wearing face coverings might lead people to forgo other protective behaviours, such as frequent handwashing and maintaining physical distance from others, sometimes called risk compensation. In our new BMJ paper, we examine the evidence for this concern. Read more

The Lancet–Chatham House Commission on Improving Population Health post COVID-19

The Lancet-Chatham House Commission on Improving Population Health post COVID-19 will launch this autumn to map the shared roots of the biggest risks to population and planetary health, and to build a framework for action. It will be led by Professor Dame Theresa Marteau (University of Cambridge) and Professor Harry Rutter (University of Bath). We are recruiting for a Research Associate to work on the Commission: deadline 28th July 2020 Read more

Impact of health warning labels on selection and consumption of food and alcohol products

Evidence from tobacco control shows that placing health warning labels (HWLs) on cigarette packs reduces their selection and consumption, with image-and-text HWLs (often called ‘pictorial’ or ‘graphic’ warning labels) more effective than text-only HWLs. The current study aimed to assess the potential impact of HWLs on food and alcohol products. We conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis to assess the impact of HWLs on selection or consumption of food (including non-alcoholic drinks) or alcoholic drinks. We searched for all randomised controlled experiments and found fourteen eligible studies, with more than 13,000 participants. Most of these studies looked at non-alcoholic drinks, specifically sugary drinks, and the majority of studies measured product selection. Read more

Impact of health warning labels on snack selection: an online experimental study

Excessive consumption of energy-dense foods – such as crisps, biscuits and confectionary – increases the risk of obesity, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and most non-smoking-related cancers. Evidence from tobacco research suggests that health warning labels (HWLs), especially those that use images showing the health risks of smoking, can change smoking behaviours. The current study aimed to investigate the impact of HWLs – communicating the adverse health consequences associated with excess energy consumption – and calorie information on selection of energy-dense snacks in an online setting. Negative emotional arousal and acceptability to the labels were also measured. Read more

Impact of health warning labels communicating the risk of cancer on alcohol selection: An online experimental study

Excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of several diseases, including seven different types of cancers. Evidence from tobacco research suggests that health warning labels (HWLs), especially those that use images showing the health risks of smoking, can change smoking behaviours. The current study aimed to investigate the impact of HWLs – communicating the increased risk of cancers associated with alcohol consumption – on selection of alcoholic drinks in an online setting. Read more

The impact on selection of non-alcoholic vs alcoholic drink availability: an online experiement

Research suggests that increasing the availability of healthier food options increases their selection and consumption, but alcohol-related availability interventions have not been explored to date. Our study provides initial evidence that increasing the availability of non-alcoholic drinks (soft drinks and alcohol-free beer), relative to alcoholic drinks, increases their selection in an online task. Read more

Wine bottle size and consumption in homes

People drink less in restaurants when wine is served with smaller glasses. Would people also drink less from smaller bottles of wine?  The results of the first study to address this suggests that consuming wine at home from 50cl bottles – compared with the usual 75cl bottles –  could reduce consumption by 4.5%. Read More

Tobacco-style health warning labels on alcohol and food: potential effectiveness and acceptability

April 2020

Health warning labels (HWLs) using graphic images that depict the negative health consequences of tobacco consumption can encourage smokers to quit. But could they be used on other products that harm our health? Read more

Wine glass size and sales in bars and restaurants

February 2020

In previous studies (Pechey et. al. 2016, Pechey et. al. 2017, Clarke et. al. 2019) we found larger wine glasses in bars and restaurants increased wine sales but not always, with the overall picture hard-to-interpret. Read more

Policies for tobacco and e-cigarette use: a survey of all higher education institutions and NHS Trusts in England

November 2019

This paper describes the first comprehensive review of smoking and vaping policies in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and acute non-specialist NHS Trusts in England. Read more.

Should cigarette pack sizes be capped? – Debate paper

August 2019

Many countries control minimum cigarette pack size to prevent the sale of cheaper, small packs, which particularly appeal to younger people. However, very few countries restrict the range or maximum size allowed, and increasingly large packs are appearing in many countries. Increasing cigarette pack size is a concern as it may lead to increased smoking. Read more.

Do people really eat less food from smaller plates?

August 2019

Despite the uncertainty in the scientific literature regarding the impact of tableware size on food consumption, eating from smaller plates is a commonly suggested strategy for reducing the amount people eat. In this study we investigated the impact of using larger versus smaller plates on the amount people eat of a self-served pasta dish. Read more

Do larger glasses increase sales of wine in bars and restaurants?

July 2019

This replication paper published in BMC Research Notes, adds to previous studies (Pechey et al 2016; Pechey et al 2017- with links) showing an effect of wine glass size on sales in bars and restaurants. This new paper presents four studies, in two bars and one restaurant. In each study, the establishment served wine in small (290ml), medium (350ml) or large glasses (450ml), changed over fortnightly periods for 18 or 26 weeks. Read more

Public acceptability of nudging and taxing to reduce consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and food

July 2019

Smoking, and excessive consumption of alcohol and unhealthy snacks are leading causes of years of life lost globally. Promising interventions include nudging – changes to the physical environment to “nudge” people toward healthier behaviours – and taxation. Implementing such interventions often requires government intervention, which is made more likely by public support. We examined support for these interventions in a survey with an experimental design involving 7058 English adults. Read more

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