In response to concerns about the health consequences of high-risk drinking by young people, the Australian Government increased the tax on pre-mixed alcoholic beverages (‘alcopops’) favoured by this demographic. A recent study measured changes in admissions for alcohol-related harm to health throughout Queensland, before and after the tax increase in April 2008.
Data from the Queensland Trauma Register, Hospitals Admitted Patients Data Collection, and the Emergency Department Information System was used to calculate alcohol-related admission rates per 100,000 people, for 15-29 year-olds. The authors analysed data over 3 years (April 2006 - April 2009). This covered 2 years before, and 1 year after, the tax increase. The analysis included both mental and behavioural consequences (via F10 codes), and intentional/unintentional injuries (S and T codes).
Results indicated that there was no decrease in alcohol-related admissions in 15-29 year-olds. Similar results were found for males and females, as well as definitions of alcohol-related harms that were narrow (F10 codes only) and broad (F10, S and T codes).
The authors conclude that the increased tax on ‘alcopops’ was not associated with any reduction in hospital admissions for alcohol-related harms in Queensland for 15-29 year-olds
Source: A time series analysis of presentations to Queensland health facilities for alcohol-related conditions, following the increase in ‘alcopops’ tax. Kisely S; Crowe E; Lawrence D; White A; Connor J. Australasian Psychiatry. Published early online 13 May 2013.