UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows 2019: Anne Alarilla

We are delighted to announce Anne Alarilla as one of our #DataImpactFellows for 2019.

Anne Alarilla is a Data and Research Analyst in the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK.

Anne primarily explores smoking, overweight and obesity prevalence in the UK and individual nations of the UK with a particular focus on prevalence trends. Anne’s research uses data from Annual Population Survey, Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, Health Survey for England, Scottish Health Survey, Health Survey Northern IrelandNational Survey for Wales and Welsh Health Survey. She previously presented her work on “Smoking Prevalence Trends by Occupational Groups in England” at the UK Data Service Health Studies User Conference 2018.

Furthermore, Anne has created a tool to accumulate smoking, overweight and obesity prevalence statistics from individual nations’ health surveys in one central place.

Anne’s research

Smoking prevalence is declining yet, it is unclear whether the government’s target of smoke free (5% smoking prevalence across all socioeconomic groups) by 2030 will be met. Projecting smoking prevalence is important to understand the future resources needed for smoking cessation services and in turn estimate the continued burden on public health. The aim of this research is to extrapolate future smoking prevalence trends using an age-period-cohort (APC) model on smoking prevalence data for socioeconomic groups (SES) in the UK and individual nations of the UK. We aim to determine the trajectory of smoking prevalence in the UK and for all the four nations, split by SES to answer the following research questions:

  • Based on the current smoking prevalence trends, what year will we hit 5% smoking prevalence across all socioeconomic groups?
  • If we do not hit the government’s target of smokefree (5% smoking prevalence across all socioeconomic groups) by 2030, what trajectory will we need to achieve this?

Data from the individual nations’ health survey will be obtained from the UK data archive. The following data sets will be used the Annual Population Survey (2010-2017) for the UK, and for the four parts of the UK:

The following variables will be inputted in the model; gender, age, country, smoking status and socioeconomic status (measured by the National Statistics Socio-economic classification, ns-sec 3). An age period cohort model will be used, and analyses will be done in R.

The model will result in mapping out the trajectory of smoking prevalence in the UK and individual nations of the UK which can be split by SES groups. This will enable us to create the following statements:

  • According to current trends, we will hit 5% smoking prevalence in X
  • According to current trends, in 2022, smoking rate will be x%
  • If we are able to hit 5% by 2030, there will be X million fewer smokers in 2030 compared to our current trajectory
  • If we want to hit 5% by 2030, we need to achieve a smoking rate of x% in 2022

Findings will be presented in a report, presentations, posters and publication in a peer-review journal. It will be used to inform the revised CRUK smoke-free generation ambitions.

Anne’s plans

Over the two years I plan to spend the £2000 to attend training, conferences and help with publication, particularly with open-access publication.


Follow Anne on Twitter: @alarillaanne 


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