Publication Date: 
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Because alcohol taxes have not been adjusted for inflation, spirits only cost one-fifth of what they used to cost in the 1950’s, leading to a host of alcohol-related injury and disease. In the United States, 80,000 deaths per year and 1.6 million hospitalizations per year are attributable to alcohol consumption.

Alexander Wagenaar, PhD, professor at University of Florida, suggests in his Critical Opportunities presentation that doubling the rate of alcohol taxes and building in automatic annual adjustments for inflation could help solve some of these alcohol-related public health issues.

The Critical Opportunities initiative of the Public Health Law Research (PHLR) program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation presents evidence and ideas for proposed legal and policy changes that can positively impact public health challenges. This video presents these ideas and evidence, and includes the practical and political feasibility of implementing the proposed changes to laws and policies. All Critical Opportunities videos can be viewed at

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The views expressed in these Critical Opportunities presentations are those of the authors or presenters, and do not represent the views or values of Public Health Law Research or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.