Objective: We evaluated the effects of tax increases on alcoholic beverages in 1983 and 2002 on alcohol-related disease mortality in Alaska.
Methods: We used a quasi-experimental design with quarterly measures of mortality from 1976 though 2004, and we included other states for comparison. Our statistical approach combined an autoregressive integrated moving average model with structural parameters in interrupted time-series models.
Results: We observed statistically significant reductions in the numbers and rates of deaths caused by alcohol-related disease beginning immediately after the 1983 and 2002 alcohol tax increases in Alaska. In terms of effect size, the reductions were -29% (Cohen's d = -0.57) and -11% (Cohen's d = -0.52) for the 2 tax increases. Statistical tests of temporary-effect models versus long-term-effect models showed little dissipation of the effect over time.
Conclusions: Increases in alcohol excise tax rates were associated with immediate and sustained reductions in alcohol-related disease mortality in Alaska. Reductions in mortality occurred after 2 tax increases almost 20 years apart. Taxing alcoholic beverages is an effective public health strategy for reducing the burden of alcohol-related disease.