Nav: Home

Small rise in booze duty could cut violence-related emergency visits by 6,000 a year

July 12, 2016

A small rise of 1% in alcohol prices could significantly reduce violence-related injuries in England and Wales, consequently reducing their burden on hard-pressed emergency departments, concludes a study by Cardiff University.

Published in the journal Injury Prevention, the study finds that violence-related emergency department (ED) attendance is greater when alcohol prices are lower and estimates that over 6,000 fewer violence-related ED attendances per year would result from a 1% rise above inflation on alcohol sold through drinking establishments and shops.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Violence Research Group at Cardiff University, one of the authors of the study, said:

"While alcohol-related violence is generally on the decline in England and Wales it still remains a big problem and places a substantial burden on health services and our emergency departments.

"Our findings suggest that reforming the current alcohol taxation system would be more effective at reducing violence-related injury than minimum unit pricing and would lead to substantial reductions in violence nationally.

"However, any such policy would need to increase the price of alcohol in both markets, especially within drinking establishments. The additional tax revenue of about £1 billion a year could be used to offset the cost of alcohol-related harm to the NHS."

Worldwide, interpersonal violence was the second leading cause of death among young men aged 15-29 in 2012, and more than 210,000 people sought emergency care in England and Wales for injuries sustained during an episode of violence in 2015.

The new study assessed the impact of on-trade (pubs/clubs/bars) and off-trade (retail outlets) alcohol pricing, as well as socioeconomic and environmental factors, on the rate of violence-related attendances at EDs in England and Wales.

Anonymised data were collected on adults who had visited 100 EDs across England and Wales between 2005 and 2012, as a result of injuries sustained during episodes of violence. Nationally available data on alcohol pricing, expenditure and prevailing socioeconomic factors for the eight year period were also studied.

Between 2005 and 2012, just short of 300,000 visits were made by adults to 100 EDs in England and Wales as a result of injuries sustained during violence, equating to an estimated 2.1m visits in total. Three out of four attendees were men, aged between 18 and 30; monthly injury rates among men were around three times as high as they were among women.

Regional and seasonal variations were evident too, with higher violence-related injury in the North West and North East of England and in Wales, and during the summer (June-August).

Analysis of the data showed that lower on trade and off-trade alcohol prices were associated with higher numbers of violence-related attendances at hospital emergency departments, after taking account of poverty, differences in household income, spending power and time of year.

An estimated rise in on-trade alcohol prices of 1% above inflation could cut the annual tally of violence fuelled emergency care visits by 4260, while the equivalent increase in off-trade alcohol prices could mean 1,788 fewer annual attendances, adding up to around 6,000 fewer visits in total.

However, of all the factors studied, poverty and the disparity between the haves and have- nots were the strongest predictors of violence-related injury rates. A 1% drop in the prevalence of poverty and a 0.01 fall in the difference between those at the top of the income scale and those at the bottom could result in 18,000 fewer visits to emergency care every year.

There are some caveats: emergency care data on violence are unlikely to capture the whole picture as some patients may be unwilling to reveal the cause of their injuries; emergency care only deals with the more serious end of the spectrum; while living close to an emergency care department may influence the likelihood of using it for treatment. All these factors tend to underestimate the benefits of small price increases.

Furthermore, given the high proportion of 18 to 30 year old men in the sample, it is possible that the data represent street violence rather more than domestic and other types of violence.

The study - Preventing violence-related injuries in England and Wales: a panel study examining the impact of on-trade and off-trade alcohol prices - is published in the journal Injury Prevention.
-end-
Notes for Editors

1. For more information, please contact Julia Short, Senior Communications Officer, 029 20 875 596/07950960968, ShortJ4@cardiff.ac.uk

2. Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK's most research intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University 5th in the UK for research excellence. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University's breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff University

Related Alcohol Articles:

Cuts in alcohol duty linked to 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England
Government cuts to alcohol taxes have had dramatic consequences for public health, including nearly 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England since 2012, according to new research from the University of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).
Potential novel biomarker for alcohol dependence
Specific molecules (small noncoding microRNAs or miRNAs) found in saliva may be able to predict alcohol dependence as biomarkers.
Integrated stepped alcohol treatment for people in HIV care improves both HIV & alcohol outcomes
Increasing the intensity of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) over time improves alcohol-related outcomes among people with HIV, according to new clinical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The Lancet:Targets to reduce harmful alcohol use are likely to be missed as global alcohol intake increases
Increasing rates of alcohol use suggest that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use, according to a study of 189 countries' alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030, published in The Lancet.
Alcohol-induced brain damage continues after alcohol is stopped
Now, a joint work of the Institute of Neuroscience CSIC-UMH, in Alicante, and the Central Institute of Mental Health of Mannheim, in Germany, has detected, by means of magnetic resonance, how the damage in the brain continues during the first weeks of abstinence, although the consumption of alcohol ceases.
More Alcohol News and Alcohol Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...