Author Archives: DK

Protocol of the German Study on Tobacco Use (DEBRA) published in BMC Public Health

The protocol of the German Study on Tobacco Use (DEBRA) is now available open access in BMC Public Health (DOI: 10.1186/s12889-017-4328-2).



The prevalence of tobacco smoking in Germany is high (~27%). Monitoring of national patterns of smoking behaviour and data on the “real-world” effectiveness of cessation methods are needed to inform policies and develop campaigns aimed at reducing tobacco-related harm. In England, the Smoking Toolkit Study (STS) has been tracking such indicators since 2006, resulting in the adaptation of tobacco control policies. However, findings cannot be directly transferred into the German health policy context. The German Study on Tobacco Use (DEBRA: “Deutsche Befragung zum Rauchverhalten”) aims to provide such nationally representative data.


In June 2016, the study started collecting data from computer-assisted, face-to-face household interviews in people aged 14 years and older. Over a period of 3 years, a total of ~36,000 respondents will complete the survey with a new sample of ~2000 respondents every 2 months (=18 waves). This sample will report data on demographics and the use of tobacco and electronic (e-)cigarettes. Per wave, about 500–600 people are expected to be current or recent ex-smokers (<12 months since quitting). This sample will answer detailed questions about smoking behaviour, quit attempts, exposure to health professionals’ advice on quitting, and use of cessation aids. Six-month follow-up data will be collected by telephone.


The DEBRA study will be an important source of data for tobacco control policies, health strategies, and future research. The methodology is closely aligned to the STS, which will allow comparisons with data from England, a country with one of the lowest smoking prevalence rates in Europe (18%).

Trial registration

This study has been registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00011322) on 25th November 2016.

Study protocol and preliminary results presented at SRNT 2017 meeting in Florence

During the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) in Florence, 8-11 March 2017, Dr. Sabrina Kastaun had a poster presentation on the study protocol of the DEBRA study, including preliminary results from the first 3 waves (June-November 2016) on current prevalence rates of tobacco and e-cigarette use in Germany (N=6,169 respondents).

At current, 28% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 27% – 29%) of the German population (age 14+) smoke tobacco. Regarding the use of e-cigarettes in the German population, 1.6% (95% CI =1.3% – 2.0%) are current users, 1.2% ex-users (have used them regularly, but do not longer;  95% CI = 1.0% – 1.5%), and 6.5% are experimental-users (have tried them previously, but do not longer; 95% CI = 6.0% – 7.0%).