Does minimum pricing reduce alcohol consumption? The experience of a Canadian province
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Aims: Minimum alcohol prices in British Columbia have been adjusted intermittently over the past 20 years. The present study estimates impacts of these adjustments on alcohol consumption. Design: Time–series and longitudinal models of aggregate alcohol consumption with price and other economic data as independent variables. Setting: British Columbia (BC), Canada. Participants: The population of British Columbia, Canada, aged 15 years and over. Measurements: Data on alcohol prices and sales for different beverages were provided by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch for 1989–2010. Data on household income were sourced from Statistics Canada. Findings: Longitudinal estimates suggest that a 10% increase in the minimum price of an alcoholic beverage reduced its consumption relative to other beverages by 16.1% (P < 0.001). Time–series estimates indicate that a 10% increase in minimum prices reduced consumption of spirits and liqueurs by 6.8% (P = 0.004), wine by 8.9% (P = 0.033), alcoholic sodas and ciders by 13.9% (P = 0.067), beer by 1.5% (P = 0.043) and all alcoholic drinks by 3.4% (P = 0.007). Conclusions: Increases in minimum prices of alcoholic beverages can substantially reduce alcohol consumption.
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