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.

Alcohol drinking, European Union, Taxes
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.06.006, hdl.handle.net/1765/37723
Preventive Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lhachimi, S.K, Cole, K.J, Nusselder, W.J, Smit, H.A, Baili, P, Bennett, K, … Boshuizen, H.C. (2012). Health impacts of increasing alcohol prices in the European Union: A dynamic projection. Preventive Medicine, 55(3), 237–243. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.06.006