A University of Queensland research team have evaluated the effectiveness of the 'alcopops' tax by studying binge drinking-related admissions at the Gold Coast Hospital.
The 70% tax was introduced by the Federal Government in April 2008 in an attempt to reduce binge drinking in young people.
The team's findings, published today in The Medical Journal of Australia, demonstrate the tax did not affect the number of alcohol-related harms observed on the Gold Coast.
Methodology and key findings:
- The research team studied whether the number of people aged 15 to 29 who presented at hospital with conditions related to binge drinking fell following the increase in alcopops tax
- The research team looked at presentation to the Gold Coast Emergency Department two years prior to the tax increase in April 2008, and two years thereafter. They compared the number of younger and older people presenting with the same health consequences of binge drinking, in addition to the number of young people presenting with other conditions
- The team found no reduction in alcohol-related health consequences following the tax
- Raising the price of just one type of drink may not reduce alcohol-related harms
- Without question, taxation is one of the most effective approaches to reduce alcohol consumption. Our findings provide further evidence for a more comprehensive approach to alcohol control that includes taxing all drinks equally by alcoholic content .
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"Effect of the increase in 'alcopops' tax on alcohol-related harms in young people: a controlled interrupted time series." The Medical Journal of Australia. (DOI) 10.5694/mja10.10865