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Increasing Alcohol Taxes

Research shows that as the price of alcohol increases, consumption and related harms decrease. For example, the amount of liquor consumed would decrease by 7.9% with every 10% increase in price, and the amount of beer consumption would decrease by 5% with every 10% increase in price. Excise taxes can be implemented by the state or federal government, or both. Increasing the price of alcohol also significantly reduced consumption and harms among underage populations.

Note: this has been identified as one of the World Health Organization’s three “best buys,” a designation given to policy options that are highly cost effective, feasible, and culturally acceptable to implement.


Bloom, D. E., Chisholm, D., Jané-Llopis, E., Prettner, K., Stein, A., & Feigl, A. (2011). From burden to" best buys": reducing the economic impact of non-communicable disease in low-and middle-income countries (No. 7511). Program on the Global Demography of Aging. Available online here.

Elder, R. W., Lawrence, B., Ferguson, A., Naimi, T. S., Brewer, R. D., Chattopadhyay, S. K., ... & Task Force on Community Preventive Services. (2010). The effectiveness of tax policy interventions for reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. American journal of preventive medicine, 38(2), 217-229. Available online here.

Chaloupka, F. J., Grossman, M., & Saffer, H. (2002). The effects of price on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. Alcohol research and health, 26(1), 22-34. Available online here.

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