Increasing Minimum Alcohol Price Can Lead to Drop in Drink-Related Deaths

Deaths caused by alcohol drop when minimum alcohol prices increase, a new study finds. Researchers in British Columbia found boosting the price of the cheapest alcohol by 10 percent led to a 32 percent drop in the drinking-related death rate, Reuters reports.

The researchers studied the relationship between minimum alcohol prices and drink-related deaths between 2002 and 2009 in British Columbia, where the government sets the minimum price for alcohol.

“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,” lead researcher Tim Stockwell of the University of Victoria’s Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia said in a news release.

The study appears in the journal Addiction.

A study by the same research group, published in 2012, found that for every 10 percent increase in the price of alcohol, people drank 3.4 percent less overall. Consumption was reduced by 6.8 percent for spirits and liqueurs, 8.9 percent for wine, 13.9 percent for alcoholic sodas and ciders, and 1.5 percent for beer.

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