Objective: The goal of the current study was to evaluate the extent to which beverage specific alcohol sales (beer, wine and distilled spirits) are associated with cirrhosis mortality rates.
Method: Cirrhosis mortality rates were related to measures of beverage specific alcohol sales data from 50 states in the United States taken over 12 years. Cirrhosis mortality rates were regressed over beverage specific alcohol sales in a time series cross-sectional analysis that included age compositions of state populations, measures of the availability of health care, population density, proscriptions on alcohol use, income, tourism and nighttime traffic fatality crash rates as covariates.
Results: Controlling for empirically observed first order autocorrelated errors in estimation, and the effects of other related covariates, the analyses showed that there was a beverage specific effect of distilled spirits sales on cirrhosis mortality rates. One percent increases in spirits sales were reflected in .282% increases in cirrhosis mortality rates. There were no significant effects for either beer or wine sales.
Conclusions: The relationship of spirits sales to cirrhosis mortality rates may be explained most reasonably by the association of chronic heavy drinking with the consumption of spirits.