Structure, Policies, and Practices of ABC Agencies and Alcohol-Related Mortality
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Although alcohol use has been estimated to cost society in excess of $136.4 billion per year, the impact of alcohol beverage control measures on health outcomes is not fully appreciated. Our previous study funded by RWJF-SAPRP examined the association of alcohol beverage control practices with alcohol- related traffic fatalities. The results suggested that practices restricting alcohol accessibility, licensing and disciplinary practices could potentially save 308 lives lost in alcohol-related traffic fatalities each year in 20 cities that have not adopted these regulations (Cohen, 2000, under review). Given the availability of 1997 city level data describing all cause mortality and a variety of other alcohol-related causes of mortality, including cirrhoses, cancer, and injuries, and our national database documenting city level alcohol beverage control practices for 1997, we now have the ability to examine whether there are additional associations between alcohol policies and other types of alcohol related mortality.
In our previous study we also found that the association between alcohol control practices and alcohol- related traffic fatalities was possibly mediated by beer consumption. However, the measure used in our original study was flawed in that the data available were only at the state level. Given that our database has alcohol control practices at the city- level, the ability to obtain city level alcohol consumption data could clarify whether particular types of alcohol disproportionately contribute to particular types of alcohol related mortality. We will gather additional data on city- level alcohol consumption. Once collected we will determine whether alcohol related mortality is mediated by consumption of beer, wine and/or spirits. This would provide additional evidence supporting the population-consumption model, which states that population level consumption of alcohol determines the rate of alcohol- related mortality.