Home > Health impacts of increasing alcohol prices in the European Union: a dynamic projection.

Lhachimi, Stefan K and Cole, Katie J and Nusselder, Wilma J and Smit, HA and Baili, Paolo and Bennett, Kathleen and Pomerleau, Joceline and McKee, Martin and Charlesworth, Kate and Kulik, Margarete C and Mackenbach, Johan P and Boshuizen, Hendriek (2012) Health impacts of increasing alcohol prices in the European Union: a dynamic projection. Preventive Medicine, 55, (3), pp. 237-243. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.06.006.

Objective. Western Europe has high levels of alcohol consumption, with corresponding adverse health effects. Currently, a major revision of the EU excise tax regime is under discussion. We quantify the health impact of alcohol price increases across the EU.

Data and method.We use alcohol consumption data for member states, covering 80% of the EU-27 population, and corresponding country-specific disease data (incidence, prevalence, and case-fatality rate of alcohol related diseases) taken from the 2010 published Dynamic Modelling for Health Impact Assessment(DYNAMO-HIA) database to dynamically project the changes in population health that might arise from changes in alcohol price.

Results. Increasing alcohol prices towards those of Finland (the highest in the EU) would postpone approximately 54,000 male and approximately 26,100 female deaths over 10 years. Moreover, the prevalence of a number of chronic diseases would be reduced: in men by approximately 97,800 individuals with diabetes, 65,800 with stroke and 62,200 with selected cancers, and in women by about 19,100, 23,500, and 27,100, respectively.

Conclusion. Curbing excessive drinking throughout the EU completely would lead to substantial gains in population health. Harmonisiation of prices to the Finnish level could, for selected diseases, achieve more
than 40% of those gains.

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