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Costs of alcohol

I am going to a talk organised by ACIl Allen Consulting tomorrow on “Counting the Costs of Alcohol”. The main point made in their initial discussion paper is that some people believe the gross costs of alcohol should be targeted while others think that only the external costs should be included. This is a very […]

Liquor stores don’t cause domestic violence or crime

In the past I have criticised the argument that reducing the number of liquor stores will reduce the crime rate. Police statisticians identify a correlation between the number of liquor stores and hence of drinking with the incidence of crime in a community. They deduce that reducing the number of stores will cut crime. Now […]

Smoking & booze policy proposals

The proposals for increasing the tax on cigarettes by 17.5 cents per stick and for introducing a minimum price on booze are worthy of analysis. Proposals are also developed for dealing with obesity but I will not discuss those here.

The report by the National Preventative Health Strategy is here.

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Alcopops tax revenue refunded to who?

The alcopops tax has yielded a great deal of revenue although the bill justifying the tax may now not be passed by the Senate.  Apparently then the government has to return the revenue to the party who bore the tax.  The nominal incidence of such a tax is on the alcohol producers but, if demand […]

A minimum price for booze

This is a cute microeconomics task.  From an group email sent to me by NCETA’s Dr Anne Roche:

‘The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) has been contracted by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to conduct a feasibility study on setting a floor price for alcohol products. This study […]

No need for moral panic over drugs

I have pointed out repeatedly that drug use in Australia is under control. Cigarette, heroin, amphetamine and cannabis consumption are declining and alcohol consumption is roughly stable. It is the reason I don’t support moves to reform drug laws on the grounds that current laws have failed – they have not failed at all.

An […]

Economics of alcohol policy

My paper ‘The Economist’s Way of Thinking About Alcohol Policy’ has just been published in Agenda. I continue to work on these issues so comments are very welcome.

Australian drug use trends

The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey has just been released (here). This is by far the most useful and accurate study of drug use trends in Australia.

Tobacco consumption continues to fall – less than 1 in 5 Australians smoked over the past 12 months. There is a very significant reduction in daily alcohol […]

Increased tax on alcopops

The Australian Government’s decision to increase the excise on so-called alcopops by 70% is excellent news. These sweet flavoured alcoholic concoctions are intended to create another generation of heavy drinkers in the face of a steady state decline in the demand for booze.

The industry is targeting kids who will suffer permanent brain damage from […]

A case for increasing the minimum age for legal drinking

The proposal to increase the drinking age in Victoria from 18 to 21 is back on the table. It will be considered by the State government if current policy efforts to restrict binge drinking fail.

I strongly support the move to restrict youth access to alcohol with such a policy. Alcohol is a neurotoxin that […]

Youth drinking & alcopops

This report on alcopops by Choice magazine is interesting. Basically youth consume such drinks without experiencing the taste of alcohilc beverages. The taste of alcoholic beverages is rather unpleasant to neophyte drinkers so vendors of alcoholic products market sweet-tasting, alcopops with a soft-drink or milk base and often laced with a tasteless alcohol product such […]

Booze & kids

The debate over whether alcopops are designed to adapt the tastes of immature sugar-loving adolescents to drinking booze is ridiculous. Of course this is the intention. Who else would drink these sugary nasties!

Booze consumption in Australia has stabilised over recent decades so the only way to grow the market is to create a […]

Taxing alcohol & tobacco products

I found this webpage from the Australian Taxation Office on excise charges on alcohol and tobacco products very useful. Taxes ideally should reflect damages of these products which are presumably related to alcohol and carcinogen content respectively. With respect to alcohol this is volumetric taxation rather than ad valorem taxes levied on product value.

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Impacts of new grog & porn policies on indigenous Australians

As I noted in an earlier post the Federal Government will ban alcohol and pornography in aboriginal towns and communities in the Northern Territory and deliver half of government welfare payments to Aboriginal parents in the form of vouchers to make sure the money is spent on food and essential items. Government payments will be […]

Banning grog & porn to cut child abuse

Levels of child abuse in Australian aboriginal communities are completely over the top – there is systematic abuse of young kids in many communities. Young girls and boys are routinely taken as sexual partners. Often the abuse is preceded by alcohol consumption and by the viewing of pornography. The Prime Minister’s move to ban alcohol […]

Advertising booze to kids

Crikey.com today discusses industry self-regulation of restrictions on advertising alcohol to kids. They claim this self-regulation is a farce – a proposition I agree with.

‘You need look no further than this ad for Tooheys New to see why Australia has a nasty drinking problem. The ad features a street party with giant inflatable […]

Indigenous involvement in crime

Via Andrew Leigh I got a link to this useful data base on ATSI involvement in crime. It is old (2002, why?) but as up-to-date as anything else available. It is a grim picture.

A quarter of ATSI had been subject to violent attack in the past 12 months. There are high rates of […]

More drivers test for drugs than for alcohol

Testing for drink driving has helped slash the number of fatal accidents involving alcohol from 40% of the total to 19%. The road toll has fallen overall also. But in an interesting twist of 1600 drivers tested in NSW one in 46 was found to have consumed illicit drugs – amphetamines, ecstasy and cannabis are […]

Living rationally under the volcano?

I am interested in Arcidiacono et al (2007) which deals with whether forward-looking ‘rational addiction’ models best explain patterns of smoking among late middle-aged men. The suggestion is that one cannot observe whether decisions by young people to smoke or drink are consistent with rationally thinking through the health consequences of smoking or not.

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Of Substance

One of the better publications I receive on licit and illicit drug consumption in Australia is Of Substance.

This is published by the Australian National Council on Drugs and is available in printed version or online free of charge (at www.ofsubstance.org.au) coutesy of the Department of Health and Aging. The April 2007 issue has […]