Minimum alcohol prices and outlet densities in British Columbia, Canada: estimated impacts on alcohol-attributable hospital admissions

Am J Public Health. 2013 Nov;103(11):2014-20. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301289. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Objectives: We investigated whether periodic increases in minimum alcohol prices were associated with reduced alcohol-attributable hospital admissions in British Columbia.

Methods: The longitudinal panel study (2002-2009) incorporated minimum alcohol prices, density of alcohol outlets, and age- and gender-standardized rates of acute, chronic, and 100% alcohol-attributable admissions. We applied mixed-method regression models to data from 89 geographic areas of British Columbia across 32 time periods, adjusting for spatial and temporal autocorrelation, moving average effects, season, and a range of economic and social variables.

Results: A 10% increase in the average minimum price of all alcoholic beverages was associated with an 8.95% decrease in acute alcohol-attributable admissions and a 9.22% reduction in chronic alcohol-attributable admissions 2 years later. A Can$ 0.10 increase in average minimum price would prevent 166 acute admissions in the 1st year and 275 chronic admissions 2 years later. We also estimated significant, though smaller, adverse impacts of increased private liquor store density on hospital admission rates for all types of alcohol-attributable admissions.

Conclusions: Significant health benefits were observed when minimum alcohol prices in British Columbia were increased. By contrast, adverse health outcomes were associated with an expansion of private liquor stores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Alcoholic Beverages / economics*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / supply & distribution*
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Commerce / economics*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult