Navigation Links
Booze Taxes Lower Alcohol-Linked Deaths
Date:11/13/2008

Alaska's alcohol tax increases tied to a drop in cirrhosis, cancer, study found

THURSDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Raising state taxes on alcohol may trigger an immediate drop in the number of people who die from alcohol-related disease, new research reveals.

The finding is based on the particular experience of Alaska, following that state's two legislative moves to raise taxes on beer, wine and liquor in 1983 and 2002. In the first instance, the research team observed a 29 percent decline in deaths from alcohol-related disease; in the second, the apparent drop was 11 percent.

"The real bottom line is that the increase in the alcohol tax saved lives," said study lead author Alexander C. Wagenaar, a professor of epidemiology with the College of Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Wagenaar and his team will publish their conclusions in the online January edition of the American Journal of Public Health. The study was funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

To gauge the impact of alcohol taxes on alcohol-related disease fatalities, the authors analyzed U.S. National Center for Health Statistics data from 1976 through 2004. They tallied the number of men and women who died from a range of alcohol-related conditions, both in Alaska and across the United States, before and after Alaska's two tax bumps.

Such diseases include cirrhosis, cancer of the mouth, cancers of the esophagus, breast cancer, and a number of other pancreatic and cardiac illnesses. Alongside alcohol-related injuries and accidents, such illnesses make up the estimated 85,000 alcohol-fueled deaths occurring in the United States annually.

The researchers note that Alaska is one of the first states to impose a serious increase in alcohol tax, raising its tax on beer, for example, from 46 cents to 63 cents per gallon in 1983, and then again to $1.20 per gallon in 2002. While most states have some sort of alcohol tax in place, the authors point out that tax rates are typically not adjusted for inflation, the result being that the "real" dollar value of alcohol taxes has actually fallen over the last half century.

In Alaska, however, Wagenaar and his colleagues found evidence that even after accounting for general improvements in health care, the imposition of a substantial alcohol tax was tied to an almost instantaneous public health reward.

Following the 1983 tax bump, 23 more deaths were averted per year -- a 29 percent drop in mortality that continued to hold up over time. Following the 2002 bump, another 21 deaths were averted annually, another 11 percent plunge.

What's more, Alaska's alcohol taxes appeared to be more powerful than other prevention efforts designed to reduce alcohol-related death rates. Specifically, the two taxes were deemed to be two to four times as effective in lowering death rates as anti-drinking media campaigns or school programs aimed at getting teens to curb their drinking.

"Basically, this was a simple adjustment of an existing policy that didn't involve increasing new health programs or interventions or spending large amounts of money," Wagenaar noted. "And it should be pointed out that in public health, if we do something that reduces the death rate by just 3 or 5 percent, that's considered to be a major success. And these tax increases reduced the risk of death from alcohol-related disease far more substantially than that."

"So, the implication for the other states and the country as a whole is quite amazing," Wagenaar added. "Just think of the healthcare cost that would be saved if we reduced the death rates across the whole country. And this is absolutely something that's not impossible to do."

Dr. Marc Galanter, director of the division of alcoholism and drug abuse in the psychiatry department at New York University's School of Medicine in New York City, expressed little surprise with the study findings.

"Many studies have shown, in different settings, that increasing the price of either alcohol or tobacco leads to a decline in sales," he noted. "So this study reaffirms this effect and its impact, in terms of alcohol. And it suggests that any change in public health messages concerning alcohol consumption should also involve a change in taxes, and therefore prices, as an effective means for ensuring improved health for the community."

More information

For more on the impact of alcohol taxes on drinking behaviors, head to the Alcohol Policies Project.



SOURCES: Alexander C. Wagenaar, Ph.D., professor, epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesvill; Marc Galanter, M.D., director, division of alcoholism and drug abuse, department of psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; January 2009 online edition, American Journal of Public Health


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. World Vision Index of Concern: Half of Americans Surveyed Said They Would Be Willing to Pay More Taxes to Combat AIDS
2. Smoke-Free Workplace Laws, Cigarette Taxes on the Rise
3. Six in 10 Voters Support Raising Taxes to Fight Breast Cancer
4. Specific antagonism lowers blood pressure
5. Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
6. Drug That Lowers Resting Heart Rate Being Tested
7. Adult offspring of parents with PTSD have lower cortisol levels
8. Lowering Blood Protein Wont Help Kidney Patients
9. Children who learn heart healthy eating habits lower heart disease risk
10. Once-a-Year Bone Drug Lowers Fracture Risk
11. New research shows ACTOS is associated with a 38 percent lower risk of heart attack
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Booze Taxes  Lower Alcohol-Linked Deaths
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... , ... Amir Qureshi, MD is the first physician in Arkansas to implant ... The Nuvectra™ Algovita SCS System has been FDA approved as a treatment option for ... to introduce the most powerful SCS system and the only stretchable lead on the ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... A new analysis of community health data ... are located in the Midwest. With the average cost of healthcare rising and the ... with both the quality and affordability of where they live. An annual 2017 report ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... via seating is proud to ... task chair specifically designed for clinical areas. Genie Copper Mesh is a crossover ... Cupron® to provide customers with a game changing chair that is affordably priced,” ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... ... After raising nearly $30,000 on Kickstarter , about three-times its original campaign ... crowdfunding price on Indiegogo . , “Along with creating an anti-stress gadget to ... fidget toy to the market that was made of superior quality and wouldn’t break ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... Silver Birch ... community, which is located on more than four acres of land at 5620 Sohl ... , The 103,000 square-foot building includes 125 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Each of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017   Provista , a proven ... than 200,000 customers, today announced Jim Cunniff as ... of executive and business experience to Provista, including most recently ... in California . He assumed his new ... is a great fit for Provista," says Jody Hatcher ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... Tenn. , May 4, 2017  A ... Infection Control, Ultraviolet-C light as a ... Tru-D SmartUVC,s ability to reduce bioburden on anesthesia ... bioburden reduction on high-touch, complex medical equipment surfaces ... surgical infections. "This study further validates ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... May 4, 2017  A new tight-tolerance microextrusion ... other highly-engineered materials, is being launched by Natvar, ... been developed in recent years to service a ... surgical applications. More expensive materials such as glass ... tubing due to their ability to consistently hold ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: