Minimum Alcohol Prices and Outlet Densities in British Columbia, Canada: Estimated Impacts on Alcohol-Attributable Hospital Admissions




Stockwell, Tim
Zhao, Jinhui
Martin, Gina
Macdonald, Scott
Vallance, Kate
Treno, Andrew
Ponicki, William
Tu, Andrew
Buxton, Jane

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American Journal of Public Health


Objectives. We investigated whether periodic increases in minimum alcohol prices were associated with reduced alcohol-attributable hospital admissions in British Columbia. Methods. The longitudinal panel study (2002–2009) incorporated minimum alcohol prices, density of alcohol outlets, and age- and gender-standardized rates of acute, chronic, and 100% alcohol-attributable admissions. We applied mixed-method regression models to data from 89 geographic areas of British Columbia across 32 time periods, adjusting for spatial and temporal autocorrelation, moving average effects, season, and a range of economic and social variables. Results. A 10% increase in the average minimum price of all alcoholic beverages was associated with an 8.95% decrease in acute alcohol-attributable admissions and a 9.22% reduction in chronic alcohol-attributable admissions 2 years later. A Can$ 0.10 increase in average minimum price would prevent 166 acute admissions in the 1st year and 275 chronic admissions 2 years later. We also estimated significant, though smaller, adverse impacts of increased private liquor store density on hospital admission rates for all types of alcohol attributable admissions. Conclusions. Significant health benefits were observed when minimum alcohol prices in British Columbia were increased. By contrast, adverse health outcomes were associated with an expansion of private liquor stores.




Stockwell et al. American Journal of Public Health Published online ahead of print April 18, 2013