Low alcohol taxation increases alcohol-related deaths: Study

Low alcohol taxation increases alcohol-related deaths: Study

Having various policies and guidelines to ensure the sensible use of drugs and alcohol in the United States is not helping much in fighting the problem of alcoholism. It has been found that binge drinking is a popular trend  in countries where people have a high socio-economic status. In fact, the condition remains grim in most of the developed nations owing to the influence of various substances on their people.

Highlighting the surge in alcohol-related deaths, especially in affluent countries, a recent study suggested that alcohol-related deaths are directly proportional to the economic status of a nation. Giving an example of the increasing number of deaths due to alcohol abuse in England, the study claimed that those belonging to high income groups will not quit drinking even if the government decides to increase alcohol taxation. The study, published in the journal BMJ in April 2016, shed light on fluctuations in the pattern of drinking in response to variations in the cost of alcoholic beverages.

However, the situation is not so grim in countries like Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, where cheap alcohol may not be accessible by all due to constraints of minimum pricing laws. This can be the key reason for a marked reduction in alcohol-related deaths in these countries, according to lead researchers Nick Sheron and Ian Gilmore.

However, according to the researchers, this is not the case in England, where people are estimated to be increasingly engaged in binge drinking due to their robust economic condition. Clearly, the level of taxation prevalent in a country strongly influences the number of alcohol-related deaths. The researchers noticed a whopping three-fold rise in death toll related to alcohol in England and Wales during 1980-2008, which was likely to be driven by people’s affordability to buy exorbitantly priced strong alcohol. Precisely, in 2008, people got higher wages but didn’t need to shell out lots of money for alcohol due to minimized alcohol taxation rates.

As a result, more people suffered from a range of alcohol-related diseases like liver cirrhosis and cancer in 2008 than in 1980 when their wages were relatively less. This explains why alcohol sales increased from nearly 400 million liters in the early 1980s to 567 million liters in 2008, in the UK. It was also observed that alcohol-related deaths culminated to 7,312 in 2008 from 2,314 in 1980 both in England and Wales. But a consistent decline in deaths can be seen from 2008 onward due to factors such as the recession and duty escalator.

How does taxation impact alcohol consumption in US?

As alcohol abuse is a grave problem in America, the country needs to take several steps to effectively curb the habit among its people. Since time immemorial, researchers have been linking the level of alcohol abuse with the amount of money that the consumers have to shell out in order to buy a bottle of an alcoholic beverage.

It is believed that that a 10 cent increase in a state’s alcohol excise tax can lead to a 12 percent reduction in the sale of ethanol, apart from lowering the number of deaths caused by liver cirrhosis and alcohol-related injuries. With alcohol being one of the most chronic addiction problems in America, a higher excise tax rate, which can boost the prices, can be instrumental in imposing a self-control on those who are heavily involved in drinking.

Road to recovery

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, harmful use of alcohol leads to 3.3 million deaths (5.9 percent) every year. The report stated that excessive alcohol consumption is a major contributor to more than 200 cases of disease and injury, including the harm caused to other people, such as family members, friends, co-workers and strangers.

A healthguidance.org report says that alcohol is instrumental in decreasing strength, endurance, recovery capabilities, aerobic capacity, ability to metabolize fat and muscle growth. It can also harm vital organs of the body including the brain, heart and liver, and its long-term use can severely damage the central nervous system.

If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome alcoholism, get in touch with the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to get the right treatment available at alcohol rehab centers in California. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 to know about one of the best alcohol addiction treatment facilities in California.

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