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A new meta-analysis shows that alcohol taxes have a clear effect on drinking

On the basis of over 100 studies, researchers have found that “when prices go down, people drink more, and when prices go up, people drink less.”

Researchers Alexander Wagenaar, Matthew Salois and Kelli Komro at the University of Florida College of Medicine have conducted a meta-analysis of 1003 estimates from 112 studies on the effect of beverage alcohol price and tax levels on drinking.

They found that beverage alcohol prices and taxes are related inversely to drinking and that the effects are large compared to other policies, such as law enforcement, media campaigns and school programmes.

The study also determined that tax or price increases affect the broad population of drinkers, including heavy drinkers as well as light drinkers, including teens as well as adults.

The authors conclude, “public policies that raise prices of alcohol are an effective means to reduce drinking.”

The research paper can be found here.

In a separate commentary available here, Frank Chaloupka states “these findings provide a strong rationale for using increases in alcoholic beverage taxes to promote public health by reducing drinking.