Impact on alcohol-related mortality of a rapid rise in the density of private liquor outlets in British Columbia: a local area multi-level analysis

Addiction. 2011 Apr;106(4):768-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03331.x. Epub 2011 Jan 18.


Aims: To study relationships between rates of alcohol-related deaths and (i) the density of liquor outlets and (ii) the proportion of liquor stores owned privately in British Columbia (BC) during a period of rapid increase in private stores.

Design: Multi-level regression analyses assessed the relationship between population rates of private liquor stores and alcohol-related mortality after adjusting for potential confounding.

Setting: The 89 local health areas of BC, Canada across a 6-year period from 2003 to 2008, for a longitudinal sample with n = 534.

Measurements: Population rates of liquor store density, alcohol-related death and socio-economic variables obtained from government sources.

Findings: The total number of liquor stores per 1000 residents was associated significantly and positively with population rates of alcohol-related death (P < 0.01). A conservative estimate is that rates of alcohol-related death increased by 3.25% for each 20% increase in private store density. The percentage of liquor stores in private ownership was also associated independently with local rates of alcohol-related death after controlling for overall liquor store density (P < 0.05). Alternative models confirmed significant relationships between changes in private store density and mortality over time.

Conclusions: The rapidly rising densities of private liquor stores in British Columbia from 2003 to 2008 was associated with a significant local-area increase in rates of alcohol-related death.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / mortality*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / economics
  • Alcoholic Beverages / supply & distribution*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Commerce / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality / trends
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Privatization / trends
  • Restaurants / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult