Charging More for Booze Could Reduce Drink-Related Deaths

Another study to back up minimum alcohol prices


This might not make your happy hours more affordable, but research has found that increasing the price of alcohol and decreasing the amount of sellers could help reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths.

A new study from the American Public Health Association found that a mere 10 percent increase in minimum alcohol prices actually reduced booze consumption significantly in Saskatchewan, Canada. The town had raised its minimum alcohol prices by 10 percent from 2002 and 2009, and in those years, beer consumption dropped 10.06 percent, spirits like vodka and whiskey went down 5.87 percent, and wine went down 4.58 percent, the study found.

Even more importantly, however, the amount of deaths caused by alcohol between 2002 and 2009 in the western area of British Columbia did decrease by 32 percent, the study found. Similarly, when the amount of private businesses selling booze increased 10 percent, alcohol-related deaths increased 2 percent, Reuters reports.

"This study adds to the scientific evidence that, despite popular opinion to the contrary, even the heaviest drinkers reduce their consumption when minimum alcohol prices increase," Tim Stockwell, who led the study, told Reuters. Which makes sense; the less accessible the alcohol, the less people will drink. We're not sure how a minimum alcohol price would affect the $15 cocktails of the world, but $1.75 PBRs may just be a thing of the past.


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