Study: Minimum Alcohol Pricing Would Save Almost 900 Lives Every Year
ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, an estimated 88,000 deaths are attributed to excessive alcohol use per year in the United States.
“Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death,” researchers also noted on the CDC website.
One solution may have been found through new research – a recent study suggests that instituting minimum pricing for alcohol would save approximately 860 lives each year.
The UK Guardian is reporting that a team at Sheffield University, in South Yorkshire, England, discovered that 29,900 fewer hospital visits would also occur if such a policy were adopted.
Researchers came to their conclusion by putting together a new model that rates how effective such a law would be on those who imbibe the most, and found that it would be especially effective for men and women who partake in frequent binge drinking.
Habitual drinkers from lower economic strata would be particularly deterred by such a move.
Those involved in the study, including lead author Dr. John Holmes, feel lawmakers should seriously consider the potential benefits a minimum pricing policy would have on large portions of people.
“Overall, the impact of a minimum unit price policy on moderate drinkers would be very small, irrespective of income,” he told the Guardian. “The policy would mainly affect harmful drinkers, and it is the low income harmful drinkers – who purchase more alcohol below the minimum unit price threshold than any other group – who would be most affected.”
He added, “Policymakers need to balance larger reductions in consumption by harmful drinkers on a low income against the large health gains that could be experienced in this group from reductions in alcohol-related illness and death.”
The study was published in the Lancet medical journal, the Guardian learned.