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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.

Gustafsson NK, Ramstedt MR - Int J Epidemiol (2010)

Bottom Line: Denmark decreased its tax on spirits by 45% on 1 October 2003.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.The present results raise important questions about the association between changes in availability and alcohol-related harms.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. nina-katri.gustafsson@sorad.su.se

ABSTRACT

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.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Descriptive figure over the trends in number of reported violent assaults in southern and northern Sweden (for south, this original series was corrected with linear interpolation). Vertical lines mark the tax change and the change in quotas. Figure covers the period January 2000 to December 2007
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Figure 2: Descriptive figure over the trends in number of reported violent assaults in southern and northern Sweden (for south, this original series was corrected with linear interpolation). Vertical lines mark the tax change and the change in quotas. Figure covers the period January 2000 to December 2007

Mentions: Statistics on alcohol-related crimes were collected from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (BRÅ). Police-reported assaults include deadly violence, attempted murder, assaults and rape including aggravated cases. Data on police-reported drunk driving offences do not include driving while under the influence of drugs. It should be noted that some of these crimes do not lead to a sentence; this share accounts for only a few percentage points each year. As noted in the descriptive figure for violence (Figure 2), there was a peak in June to July 2001 in southern Sweden that was caused by riots in Gothenburg (southern Sweden) in relation to an EU meeting at this time. The series was therefore corrected using the linear interpolation command in Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 16.0, for these months.


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.

Gustafsson NK, Ramstedt MR - Int J Epidemiol (2010)

Descriptive figure over the trends in number of reported violent assaults in southern and northern Sweden (for south, this original series was corrected with linear interpolation). Vertical lines mark the tax change and the change in quotas. Figure covers the period January 2000 to December 2007
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3066424&req=5

Figure 2: Descriptive figure over the trends in number of reported violent assaults in southern and northern Sweden (for south, this original series was corrected with linear interpolation). Vertical lines mark the tax change and the change in quotas. Figure covers the period January 2000 to December 2007
Mentions: Statistics on alcohol-related crimes were collected from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (BRÅ). Police-reported assaults include deadly violence, attempted murder, assaults and rape including aggravated cases. Data on police-reported drunk driving offences do not include driving while under the influence of drugs. It should be noted that some of these crimes do not lead to a sentence; this share accounts for only a few percentage points each year. As noted in the descriptive figure for violence (Figure 2), there was a peak in June to July 2001 in southern Sweden that was caused by riots in Gothenburg (southern Sweden) in relation to an EU meeting at this time. The series was therefore corrected using the linear interpolation command in Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 16.0, for these months.

Bottom Line: Denmark decreased its tax on spirits by 45% on 1 October 2003.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.The present results raise important questions about the association between changes in availability and alcohol-related harms.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. nina-katri.gustafsson@sorad.su.se

ABSTRACT

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.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus