Nudging as a tool to prevent tobacco and alcohol use: findings from a scoping review
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Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
Azienda ULSS6 Euganea, Regione Veneto, Padua, Italy
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy - Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A887
Background and Objective:
Alcohol and tobacco consumption are among the main preventable risk factors for non-communicable diseases related deaths, disabilities, and overall burden. There are many possible mono and multicomponent prevention interventions available. One promising technique, recently applied to healthcare, is “Nudging”. It aims to change behaviors by modifying the physical, psychological and social dimensions of environment in which people make choices without freedom restriction. The objective of the study was therefore to review the use of nudging techniques to prevent tobacco and alcohol use in adults.

A scoping review of the literature was performed. Participants were required to be 18-64 years of age, no gender or clinical condition restrictions were applied, mono and/or multicomponent nudge-based interventions performed in community, clinical, community and clinical or online settings were considered.

20 studies were included. 11 studies addressed tobacco use, of which 63% were set in the community and 27% online, 64% being monocomponent and 36% multicomponent, with 54% reporting successful outcomes. 7 studies addressed alcohol use, of which 29% had a community setting, 29% a clinical setting, 43% a clinical and community setting and 29% were online (29% not reported), 86% were monocomponent and 14% multicomponent with 71% reporting successful outcomes. 2 studies addressed both risk factors, of which 100% had a clinical setting, 100% were multicomponent and 50% reported success.

The study shows promising results in the implementation of nudging to prevent tobacco and alcohol use in adults. A set of specific measure outcomes and a comprehensive framework to inform, monitor and evaluate nudging programs and public health policy decisions are much needed. It is also important to study equity in applying nudge strategies in groups socio-economically diverse. In addition, further research is strongly required to evaluate nudge-based interventions targeting risk factors in younger people.

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