Cigarette Taxes Deter Heavy Drinking, Study Suggests08/09/13
FRIDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Higher cigarette taxes help
reduce drinking among certain groups of people, U.S. researchers
To assess the impact that increases in cigarette taxes between
2001-02 and 2004-05 had on drinking behavior, researchers analyzed
data from more than 21,000 drinkers who took part in a survey from
the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The cigarette tax increases were associated with modest to
moderate reductions in drinking among "vulnerable groups,"
according to the study, which was published in the journal
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
"Results suggest that increases in cigarette taxes were associated with reductions in alcohol consumption over time among male smokers," corresponding author Sherry McKee, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, said in a journal news release. "The protective effects were most pronounced among subgroups who are most at risk for adverse alcohol-related consequences, including male heavy drinkers, young adults and those with the lowest income."
Smoking and heavy drinking occur together at very high rates,
McKee said, noting that tobacco can enhance the subjective effects
of alcohol and has been shown to increase the risk for heavy and
Cigarette taxes, meanwhile, have been recognized as one of the
most significant policy instruments to reduce smoking, McKee said.
"By increasing the price of cigarettes, taxes are thought to
encourage smokers to reduce their use of cigarettes or quit
altogether, and discourage non-smokers from starting to smoke," she
Christopher Kahler, professor and chairman of the department of
behavioral and social sciences at Brown School of Public Health,
welcomed the new study. "These findings suggest that if states
increase taxes on cigarettes, they are not only likely to reduce
smoking -- based on a large body of literature -- but they also may
have a modest impact on heavy drinking rates among men, those with
lower income and those who drink most heavily," he said in the news
"In other words, policies that target one specific health behavior may have broader benefits to public health by affecting additional health behaviors that tend to co-occur with the targeted health behavior," he said.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has
alcohol use disorders.
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