Tim Stockwell, M. Christopher Auld, Jinhui Zhao, Gina Martin
Article first published online: 11 FEB 2012
lcohol has been causally implicated in more than 60 diagnostic categories of disease, illness and injury , including a variety of cancers, cardiovascular illnesses and traumatic conditions. This paper presents a Canadian case study of the effectiveness of setting minimum prices to reduce per capita alcohol consumption. We find that increases in minimum prices are associated with substantial decreases in consumption.
There is good evidence from individual studies that hazardous drinkers tend to seek out the cheapest forms of alcohol [2,3], and from meta-analyses that overall alcohol price increases are a potent strategy to reduce both consumption [4,5] and related harms [6,7].
The effectiveness of overall price increases, however, can be blunted if drinkers are able to choose cheaper, lower-quality products to compensate . There has been much recent public debate in the United Kingdom and Australia as to whether minimum alcohol prices should be legislated as a public health measure [9,10], but no empirical evaluations of the effects of such policies have been published. Canada is one of a handful of countries to have implemented minimum alcohol price policies. The present paper is the first report of a research program designed to evaluate the public health and safety impacts of this policy using data on alcohol consumption from a jurisdiction which implements minimum alcohol prices.