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

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

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Tim Stockwell, Jinhui Zhao, Gina Martin, Scott Macdonald, and Kate Vallance are with the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, University of Victoria, British Columbia. Tim Stockwell is also with the Department of Psychology, University of Victoria. Andrew Treno and William Ponicki are with the Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Berkeley, California. Andrew Tu and Jane Buxton are with the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia.



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


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.


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.


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.

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