Can pricing deter adolescents and young adults from starting to drink: An analysis of the effect of alcohol taxation on drinking initiation among Thai adolescents and young adults

Bundit Sornpaisarn, Kevin D. Shield, Joanna E. Cohen, Robert Schwartz, Jürgen Rehm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The objective of this study is to assess the relationship between alcohol taxation changes and drinking initiation among adolescents and young adults (collectively “youth”) in Thailand (a middle-income country). Using a survey panel, this study undertook an age-period-cohort analysis using four large-scale national cross-sectional surveys of alcohol consumption performed in Thailand in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2011 (n = 87,176 Thai youth, 15–24 years of age) to test the hypothesis that changes in the inflation-adjusted alcohol taxation rates are associated with drinking initiation. Regression analyses were used to examine the association between inflation-adjusted taxation increases and the prevalence of lifetime drinkers. After adjusting for potential confounders, clear cohort and age effects were observed. Furthermore, a 10% increase of the inflation-adjusted taxation rate of the total alcohol market was significantly associated with a 4.3% reduction in the prevalence of lifetime drinking among Thai youth. In conclusion, tax rate changes in Thailand from 2001 to 2011 were associated with drinking initiation among youth. Accordingly, increases in taxation may prevent drinking initiation among youth in countries with a high prevalence of abstainers and may reduce the harms caused by alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S45-S57
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Global Health
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Drinking initiation
  • Middle-income countries
  • Prevention
  • Taxation
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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