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Friday, January 9, 2015

Higher Taxes Prevent Binge Drinking

The prevention of binge drinking is of the utmost importance. The health consequences associated with binge drinking can be fatal. Binge drinking is consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women. While education is helpful for deterring unhealthy alcohol practices, it turns out that cost may have a greater effect.

New research from Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) has found that higher alcohol taxes protect against binge drinking, Science Daily reports. The findings showed that just a one-percent hike in alcohol prices from taxes was associated with a 1.4 percent decrease in the proportion of adults who binge drink.

"This is really significant for public health," said lead author Ziming Xuan, assistant professor of community health sciences at BUSPH. Binge drinking is responsible for more than half of nearly 90,000 alcohol-attributable deaths in the U.S. each year, according to Xuan. The dangerous practice accounts for three-quarters of the $224 billion in annual economic costs.

The study found that states with alcohol taxes had the lowest rates of binge drinking. Tennessee, the state with the highest beer combined taxes, had the lowest binge drinking rate (6.6 percent) in 2010. States with low alcohol taxes, such as Montana, Wisconsin and Delaware, were found to have relatively high binge drinking rates.

"This study emphasizes the importance of assessing multiple co-existing tax types -- and possibly tax structure -- for characterizing the relationship between tax and related outcomes, evaluating the effects of tax policy interventions, and for planning tax policy interventions," the researchers said.

The researchers believe that many previous U.S. studies regarding the same subject might be underestimating the effect of higher taxes on reducing alcohol consumption.

The study, published in the journal Addiction.

1 comment:

  1. An old way approach. Raise the taxes and the people will forbid it, even if they do continue, then the State will be more beneficial. Not a permanent solution though, it can have a short term effect.


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