Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To Reduce IneqUalities and harM

UKPRP award £5.9 million for 5 years, with additional in-kind investment from the consortium’s partners

The consortium will investigate the commercial determinants of health and health inequalities, building on the work of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies by focusing mainly on tobacco and alcohol but extending work to unhealthy food (e.g. high in fat, salt and sugar).

Our research

The consortium will investigate the commercial determinants of health and health inequalities, building on the work of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies by focusing mainly on tobacco and alcohol but extending work to unhealthy food (e.g. high in fat, salt and sugar). The research aims to increase understanding of the complex systems of production, distribution and promotion underlying the consumption of these unhealthy commodities; and understanding of the influence of producers of the commodities on the systems that promote or harm health.

The consortium (SPECTRUM) will evaluate policies and natural experiments implemented in England and the devolved nations, including, for example: the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and other alcohol policies; proposed restrictions on the number and clustering density of tobacco retailers in Scotland; proposed policies to address key elements of food marketing; and variations in policies arising from ‘Brexit’. Evidence will be generated on the health and economic impacts of policy interventions, including on the wider economy.

The research will also: (i) map the local commercial environments of the commodities and model the impacts (and unintended consequences) of approaches to change those local environments; (ii) examine the relationship between the commodities, mental ill health and stigma, and explore how these could be altered; and (iii) determine how health governance and regulatory mechanisms can enhance NCD prevention policy. The methods and insights derived from the research on alcohol and tobacco will be extended to apply to food where appropriate.

On 25 September 2019 the UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) held a kick off meeting with the award holders from the first funding round. The slides presented by SPECTRUM are available to download (PPT, 3MB).

Consortium members

Membership of the consortium includes:

  • More than 20 academic disciplines such as law, economics, political science and geography.
  • Research users from Public Health England (PHE), NHS Health Scotland and Public Health Wales as co-investigators, and knowledge brokers seconded from two of these users who are embedded in the consortium.
  • Commercial partners – Sandtable and The Retail Data Partnership – will provide data, analytical platforms and skills needed to undertake the research.
  • Key multi-agency alliances which aim to improve health and reduce inequalities in the UK and beyond: Alcohol Health Alliance; Obesity Alliance; Smokefree Action Coalition; Poverty Alliance; NCD Alliance.

For further details about SPECTRUM see: https://www.ukctas.net/SPECTRUM

Marcus Munafo

Professor of Biological Psychology

University of Bristol

Niamh Fitzgerald

Senior Lecturer in Alcohol Studies

University of Stirling

Mark Petticrew

Professor of Public Health Evaluation

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Anna Gilmore

Professor of Public Health

University of Bath

Jamie Brown

Co-Director, UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group

University College London

Alan Brennan

Professor of Health Economics and Decision Modelling

University of Sheffield

Jamie Pearce

Professor of Health Geography

University of Edinburgh

Tessa Langley

Associate Professor in Health Economics

University of Nottingham

Ann McNeill

Professor of Tobacco Addiction

Kings College London

Jeff Collin

Professor of Global Health Policy

University of Edinburgh

John Britton

Professor of Epidemiology

University of Nottingham

Sharon Friel

Professor of Health Equity

Australian National University

Keith Syrett

Professor of Health Law and Policy

University of Bristol

Graham Moore

Reader in Social Sciences and Health

Cardiff University

Garth Reid

Joint Head, Evidence for Action Team

NHS Health Scotland

Julie Bishop

Director of Health Improvement

Public Health Wales

Martin Dockrell

Tobacco Control Programme Lead

Public Health England

Rosanna O'Connor

Director, Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco

Public Health England