Alcopops, taxation and harm: a segmented time series analysis of emergency department presentations
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Background: In Australia, a Goods and Services Tax (GST) introduced in 2000 led to a decline in the price of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages relative to other alcohol products. The 2008 RTD (“alcopops”) tax increased RTD prices. The objective of this study was to estimate the change in incidence of Emergency Department (ED) presentations for acute alcohol problems associated with each tax. Methods: Segmented regression analyses were performed on age and sex-specific time series of monthly presentation rates for acute alcohol problems to 39 hospital emergency departments across New South Wales, Australia over 15 years, 1997 to 2011. Indicator variables represented the introduction of each tax. Retail liquor turnover controlled for large-scale economic factors such as the global financial crisis that may have influenced demand. Under-age (15–17 years) and legal age (18 years and over) drinkers were included. Results: The GST was associated with a statistically significant increase in ED presentations for acute alcohol problems among 18–24 year old females (0 · 14/100 000/month, 95% CI 0 · 05-0 · 22). The subsequent alcopops tax was associated with a statistically significant decrease in males 15–50 years, and females 15–65 years, particularly in 18–24 year old females (−0 · 37/100 000/month, 95% CI −0 · 45 to −0 · 29). An increase in retail turnover of liquor was positively and statistically significantly associated with ED presentations for acute alcohol problems across all age and sex strata. Conclusions: Reduced tax on RTDs was associated with increasing ED presentations for acute alcohol problems among young women. The alcopops tax was associated with declining presentations in young to middle-aged persons of both sexes, including under-age drinkers.
BMC Public Health
© Gale et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015. This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified