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Changes in alcohol-related harm in Sweden after increasing alcohol import quotas and a Danish tax decrease-an interrupted time-series analysis for 2000-2007
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Epidemiology, ISSN 0300-5771, E-ISSN 1464-3685, Vol. 40, no 2, 432-440 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background Denmark decreased its tax on spirits by 45% on 1 October 2003. Shortly thereafter, on 1 January 2004, Sweden increased its import quotas of privately imported alcohol, allowing travellers to bring in much larger amounts of alcohol from other European Union countries. Although these changes were assumed to increase alcohol-related harm in Sweden, particularly among people living close to Denmark, analyses based on survey data collected before and after these changes have not supported this assumption. The present article tests whether alcohol-related harm in southern Sweden was affected by these changes by analysing other indicators of alcohol-related harm, e. g. harm recorded in different kinds of registers. Methods Interrupted time-series analysis was performed with monthly data on cases of hospitalization due to acute alcohol poisoning, number of reported violent assaults and drunk driving for the years 2000-07 in southern Sweden using the northern parts of Sweden as a control and additionally controlling for two earlier major changes in quotas. Results The findings were not consistent with respect to whether alcohol-related harm increased in southern Sweden after the decrease in Danish spirits tax and the increase in Swedish alcohol import quotas. On the one hand, an increase in acute alcohol poisonings was found, particularly in the 50-69 years age group, on the other hand, no increase was found in violent assaults and drunk driving. Conclusions The present results raise important questions about the association between changes in availability and alcohol-related harms. More research using other methodological approaches and data is needed to obtain a comprehensive picture of what actually happened in southern Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 40, no 2, 432-440 p.
Keyword [en]
Alcohol-related harm, alcohol poisoning, violent assaults, drunk driving, tax change, private import quotas of alcohol
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69072DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyq153ISI: 000289165800022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-69072DiVA: diva2:475400
Note
authorCount :2Available from: 2012-01-10 Created: 2012-01-10 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Bridging the world: Alcohol Policy in Transition and Diverging Alcohol Patterns in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bridging the world: Alcohol Policy in Transition and Diverging Alcohol Patterns in Sweden
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present dissertation aims at analysing the effects of recent alcohol policy changes. The traditional strict policy in Sweden had focused on high pricing and limited availability to control levels of alcohol consumed and thus alcohol-related harms. However, increased travellers’ allowances meant larger availability of cheaper alcohol when importing from Denmark and Germany, which are the countries from which Swedes obtain most of their private imports; the tax decrease in Denmark further decreased the price. As the economic literature links demand to price of a commodity and the early (smaller) quota changes had resulted in higher consumption in southern Sweden, it was expected that these latest changes would mean higher consumption and more alcohol-related problems in this area in particular. Some groups were additionally expected to be more affected than others.

The present compilation thesis comprises four related articles and an introductory chapter that ties them together. Article I focuses on private imports in relation to quota changes 2002 – 2004 and relate this to purchase at the alcohol monopoly stores. Self-reported consumption and alcohol-related problems are studied in Article II and IV. In Article III, register data on alcohol-related harms, i.e. hospitalizations and police-recorded crimes, are analysed.

The results of the dissertation were puzzling, since there was no large increase in consumption or alcohol-related problems in the south, but increases in the north during the period. However, private imports and cases of hospitalization due to alcohol poisoning were found to have increased in the south. Thus, the results imply that these policy changes had an effect on private imports, but that this effect was not large enough to increase total consumption as well. Additionally, increased alcohol poisoning cases implied that there had been an impact among high consumers. The increases found in consumption and problems in the north may instead have other explanations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2010. 57 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 42Dissertations at the Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD), 9
Keyword
alcohol consumption, alcohol-related consequences, availability, price, EU, social change
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38858 (URN)978-91-86071-39-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-28, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In press. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Submitted.

Available from: 2010-05-06 Created: 2010-05-01 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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