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SYNTAX Rapid Scoping Review: PRISMA Scoping Review checklist and Supplementary Information

posted on 2023-02-07, 14:35 authored by Jenny Hatchard, Penny Buykx, Alan BrennanAlan Brennan, Duncan GillespieDuncan Gillespie


Increased taxation is recognised worldwide as one of the most effective interventions for decreasing tobacco and harmful alcohol use, with many variations of policy options available. This rapid scoping review was part of a NIHR-funded project (‘SYNTAX’ 16/105/26) and was undertaken during 2018 to inform interviews to be conducted with UK public health stakeholders with expertise in alcohol and tobacco pricing policy.


Objectives: To synthesise evidence and debates on current and potential alcohol and tobacco taxation options for the UK, and report on the underlying objectives, evidence of effects and mediating factors. Eligibility criteria: Peer-reviewed and grey literature; published 1997–2018; English language; UK-focused; include taxation interventions for alcohol, tobacco, or both. Sources of evidence: PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Google, stakeholder and colleague recommendations.

Charting methods

Excel spreadsheet structured using PICO framework, recording source characteristics and content.


Ninety-one sources qualified for inclusion: 49 alcohol, 36 tobacco, 6 both. Analysis identified four policy themes: changes to excise duty within existing tax structures, structural reforms, industry measures, and hypothecation of tax revenue for public benefits. For alcohol, policy options focused on raising the price of cheap, high-strength alcohol. For tobacco, policy options focused on raising the price of all tobacco products, especially the cheapest products, which are hand-rolling tobacco. For alcohol and tobacco, there were options such as levies that take money from the industries to help reduce the societal costs of their products. Due to the perceived social and economic importance of alcohol in contrast to tobacco, policy options also discussed supporting pubs and small breweries.


This review has identified a set of tax policy options for tobacco and alcohol, their objectives, evidence of effects and related mediating factors. The differences between alcohol and tobacco tax policy options and debates suggest an opportunity for cross-substance policy learning.

Contents of the Supplementary Information:

Checklist for: "Options for modifying UK alcohol and tobacco tax: A rapid scoping review of the evidence over the period 1997–2018"

The reporting follows the PRISMA extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR) 

Tricco AC, Lillie E, Zarin W. Prisma extension for scoping reviews (prisma-scr): Checklist and explanation. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2018;169:467-473. doi:


Integrated evidence synthesis for joint appraisal of tobacco and alcohol tax interventions for harm reduction in the UK

NIHR Evaluation Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre

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