Aims Minimum alcohol prices in British Columbia have been adjusted intermittently over the past 20 years. The present study estimates impacts of these adjustments on alcohol consumption.
Design Time–series and longitudinal models of aggregate alcohol consumption with price and other economic data as independent variables.
Setting British Columbia (BC), Canada.
Participants The population of British Columbia, Canada, aged 15 years and over.
Measurements Data on alcohol prices and sales for different beverages were provided by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch for 1989–2010. Data on household income were sourced from Statistics Canada.
Findings Longitudinal estimates suggest that a 10% increase in the minimum price of an alcoholic beverage reduced its consumption relative to other beverages by 16.1% (P < 0.001). Time–series estimates indicate that a 10% increase in minimum prices reduced consumption of spirits and liqueurs by 6.8% (P = 0.004), wine by 8.9% (P = 0.033), alcoholic sodas and ciders by 13.9% (P = 0.067), beer by 1.5% (P = 0.043) and all alcoholic drinks by 3.4% (P = 0.007).
Conclusions Increases in minimum prices of alcoholic beverages can substantially reduce alcohol consumption.