September 25, 2010


A Hike in the Price of Booze Could Make Us All Healthier (Rachael Rettner, 9/24/10, MyHealthNewsDaily)

hen the alcohol taxes in Finland were lowered by one-third in 2004, there was a 10 percent increase in alcohol consumption, according to a 2009 study in the journal Addiction. And other research by Wagenaar, which analyzed the results of 112 previous studies, found that on average, a 10 percent increase in the cost of alcohol leads to about a 5 percent decrease in the amount of drinking.

The new study suggests these changes in drinking habits impact other alcohol-related problems.

Wagenaar and his colleagues identified 50 papers published over the last 40 years that looked at how changes in alcohol prices affect health outcomes. These studies were mainly conducted in the United States, Canada and Scandinavia.

Their analysis showed that, on average, a doubling of the alcohol tax was associated with a 35 percent decrease in alcohol-related mortality (such as death from liver disease), an 11 percent decrease in deaths from traffic accidents, a 6 percent decrease in sexually transmitted diseases, a 2 percent decrease in violence and a 1.4 percent reduction in crime.

The dirty secret about Prohibition is that it worked. But alcohol is too central to our society, traditions and customs to be uprooted entirely. Making liquor more expensive is an excellent alternative. It essentially imposes moderation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2010 6:40 AM
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