Objective: Western Europe has high levels of alcohol consumption, with corresponding adverse health effects. Currently, a major revision of the EU excise tax regime is under discussion. We quantify the health impact of alcohol price increases across the EU.
Data and method: We use alcohol consumption data for 11 member states, covering 80% of the EU-27 population, and corresponding country-specific disease data (incidence, prevalence, and case-fatality rate of alcohol related diseases) taken from the 2010 published Dynamic Modelling for Health Impact Assessment (DYNAMO-HIA) database to dynamically project the changes in population health that might arise from changes in alcohol price.
Results: Increasing alcohol prices towards those of Finland (the highest in the EU) would postpone approximately 54,000 male and approximately 26,100 female deaths over 10 years. Moreover, the prevalence of a number of chronic diseases would be reduced: in men by approximately 97,800 individuals with diabetes, 65,800 with stroke and 62,200 with selected cancers, and in women by about 19,100, 23,500, and 27,100, respectively.
Conclusion: Curbing excessive drinking throughout the EU completely would lead to substantial gains in population health. Harmonisiation of prices to the Finnish level would, for selected diseases, achieve more than 40% of those gains.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.