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Can Higher Liquor Prices Save Lives?

A new study links higher alcohol prices to a 32% drop in drinking-related deaths.

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People drink less when booze costs more.
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By Valerie Tejeda

02/08/13

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Increasing the price of alcohol might lead to a significant drop in drinking-related deaths, according to a Canadian study published in the journal Addiction. Researchers found a 32% drop in deaths from alcohol between 2002 and 2009, when the government in British Columbia raised the prices of alcoholic drinks by 10%. "This study adds to the scientific evidence that, despite popular opinion to the contrary, even the heaviest drinkers reduce their consumption when minimum alcohol prices increase," says study lead Tim Stockwell of the University of Victoria's Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia. An earlier study conducted by the same team found that each 10% rise in the minimum price of alcohol led people to drink 3.4% less alcohol overall. “This study give a strong indication that the policy has reduced the consumption levels of those drinking at hazardous and harmful levels," says John Holmes of the alcohol research group at Britain's University of Sheffield. The United States currently does not set a minimum alcohol price on beverages.

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