Research Article

Influence of an increase in excise duty on alcohol consumption and its adverse effects.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 17 September 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:809
  1. R E Kendell,
  2. M de Roumanie,
  3. E B Ritson


    The excise duty on alcoholic beverages was increased in March 1981, causing the cost of alcohol to rise faster than other prices for the first time in 30 years. For this reason 463 "regular drinkers" in the Lothian region whose drinking habits had been established in 1978-9 were reinterviewed in 1981-2. Overall, their alcohol consumption had fallen by 18% and associated adverse effects by 16%. Heavy drinkers and suspected dependent drinkers both reduced their consumption at least as much as light or moderate drinkers and suffered considerably fewer adverse effects as a result. Increasing the excise duty on alcoholic beverages can therefore be an effective public health measure. Factors related to rising unemployment were responsible for about 20% of the overall reduction in consumption.