Skip to main content

Raising Alcohol Taxes is Least Costly Way to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms

A new international study shows that raising alcohol taxes may be one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing the harms caused by alcohol consumption.

In addition, restricting alcohol advertising and hours of sale were shown to be successful at reducing hazardous and harmful alcohol use and, as a result, improving overall health in the population.

The findings are published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

“Tax increases may not sound the most attractive of policy options but are the single most cost-effective way of diminishing demand and reining back consumption,” says lead researcher Dan Chisholm, Ph.D., of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Researchers from the World Health Organization and one of its academic collaborating centers used a statistical model to determine which of five alcohol control strategies would be a cost-effective public health policy to reduce deaths and harms from alcohol consumption.

The strategies they investigated include:

  • Increasing alcohol taxes
  • Restricting hours of operation for retailers
  • Limiting advertising
  • Stronger enforcement of blood-alcohol concentration laws
  • Wider use of alcohol-problem screenings conducted at primary care clinics

According to the findings, a 50 percent hike in alcohol excise taxes — taxes worked into the price of the product that the consumer might not “see” — would cost less than the equivalent of USD $100 for each healthy year of life gained in the overall population and would add 500 healthy years of life for every one million people.

To put that tax increase in perspective, it might represent mere pennies per drink. According to a study in the January issue of the journal, state excise taxes in America average only three cents per 12 ounces of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine and only five cents for a drink with 1.5 oz. of hard liquor.

“Current rates of excise taxes on alcohol vary considerably between jurisdictions but can be set very low,” Chisholm says, “for example because of low awareness of the risks that alcohol consumption can pose to health or because of strong advocacy from economic operators.”

Increasing these taxes is “an ambitious but feasible strategy,” according to the study, and this change in public policy “would bring excise taxes for alcoholic beverages more in line with those imposed on tobacco products.”

Two other methods — restricting hours of operation for off-premise alcohol retailers or implementing and enforcing strong restrictions/bans on alcohol advertising (on the Internet, radio, television, and billboards) — each would also cost less than $100 per healthy year of life gained and would add up to 350 healthy life years for every one million people in the population.

Stronger enforcement of blood alcohol concentration laws by increasing the number of sobriety checkpoints would be a somewhat less cost-effective policy: It would cost up to $3,000 per healthy year of life saved and would add fewer than 100 years of healthy life per one million people. The higher cost would be the result of more time invested by police and the equipment required at checkpoints.

Finally, wider use of brief alcohol-problem screening and intervention conducted by primary care doctors would generate up to 1,000 years of healthy life per one million people, but cost up to $1,434 per year of healthy life gained.

The study used data from 16 countries, including upper middle- and high-income countries (such as the United States, Germany, Japan, and China) as well as low- and lower middle-income countries (such as Guatemala, India, Ukraine, and Vietnam).

The researchers note that they likely underestimated the benefits of improved alcohol control strategies. Their study did not look at other alcohol-related issues, such as reduced property damage or better productivity at work.

Still, not everyone will necessarily think that less alcohol consumption is a good policy.

“Implementation of these effective public health strategies is actively fought by the alcohol industry, often with threats of lost jobs and/or revenue for countries,” the authors write.

In the end, the authors hope their research will “guide decision makers toward a more rational and targeted use of available resources . . . for addressing the substantial and still growing burden of disease attributable to alcohol use.”

Previous studies have suggested that more than five percent of deaths worldwide and over four percent of diseases are directly related to alcohol.

Source: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs



from Psych Central News https://ift.tt/2noSMrv
via IFTTT

Become a patron of The Carlisle Wellness Network. Show everyone that you think this service is worth at least a buck. Go to; https://www.patreon.com/carlislewellness and pledge one dollar per month and help improve the resources it takes to gather the articles you see here as well as create fresh content including interviews an podcasts. We only need one dollar per month from all of our patrons to give The Carlisle Wellness Network a bright furture in the health and wellness social media ecosystem.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PET Imaging Agent Can ID Good Candidates for Depression Drug

A new brain imaging agent could reveal — before any treatment has been prescribed — whether a patient with major depressive disorder (MDD) is likely to respond to a particular antidepressant, according to a new study published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. No such marker is currently available in clinical psychiatry.Escitalopram (Lexapro), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), can be an effective MDD treatment for some patients, but not all. During  positron emission tomography (PET) test, the tracer 11C-DASB targets the serotonin transporter protein (5-HTT) in the amygdala of the brain, a region associated with emotional processing.In the study, patients shown to have less 5-HTT protein were those who later experienced relief from escitalopram.“MDD is a heterogeneous disorder, which makes it extremely difficult to treat effectively,” said researcher Mala R. Ananth, a graduate student at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y.“Optimizing treatment is challenging a…

Reducing Alzheimer’s Stigma Could Enhance Research

A new study suggests ongoing research on Alzheimer’s disease may be challenged by the stigma associated with the disease. This concern comes from the results of a national survey which discovered people may be afraid to admit they have early stage Alzheimer’s because of fear of discrimination — especially potential limitations on their health insurance.Researchers say these fears can hopefully be overcome by the development of new policies to protect individuals. Nondisclosure of early symptoms that may or may not be Alzheimer’s hinders a individuals ability to obtain timely care. Additionally, a person may miss the opportunity to participate in clinical studies that discover potential therapies.The finding are the results of a national survey about what beliefs, attitudes and expectations are most often associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The survey results appear in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.“We found that concerns about discrimination a…

Hair Pulling, Nail Biting, Skin Peeling and Biting

All my life I’ve bitten my nails. It’s caused me a lot of trouble, especially with my bipolar mother who has always thought screaming and shouting at me (and often a smack when I was younger) would make me stop.At around 7 I also started biting and peeling the skin on my fingers which has caused a lot of social and health issues for me from being to ashamed to join in with prayers at school, to getting my fingers getting a fungal infection causing long lasting damage to my fingers.Soon after I started to pull out the tiny hairs on my legs during school assembles and by 12 I began to pull my eyebrow hair out.How can I stop doing this to myself? I don’t even realise I’m doing it half the time (I started biting the skin around my fingers just writing this and caused it to bleed a little). I’m afraid to bring this up with my parents because of how they have reacted in the past and I’m far too embarrassed to ask anyone I would typically trust. It has severally impacted how I interact with …