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Open Access Research article

Temporal changes in geographical disparities in alcohol-attributed disease mortality before and after implementation of the alcohol tax policy in Taiwan

Chih-Ming Lin1 and Tzai-Hung Wen2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Healthcare Information and Management, Ming Chuan University, Taoyuan, Taiwan

2 Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:889  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-889

Published: 22 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Taxation of alcohol-containing products may effectively reduce alcohol consumption. However, whether alcohol taxation may lead to a decrease in alcohol-attributed disease mortality (ADM) remains unclear. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of alcohol tax policy in 2002 in Taiwan on temporal changes in geographical disparities in ADM before and after implementation of the policy.

Methods

Local spatial statistical methods were used to explore the geographic variations in ADM rates and identify statistically significant clusters among townships.

Results

Our results indicate that the areas with the highest rates of ADM (127-235 deaths per 100,000 people) were located in mountainous regions, and the areas with the lowest rates of ADM (less than 26 deaths per 100,000 people) were clustered in the most populated areas. The areas where the rates of ADM significantly declined after alcohol taxation was initiated were clustered in the central, southwest and northeast parts of the country.

Conclusions

This study provides evidence of a township-level relationship between the reduction of ADM and alcohol taxation in Taiwan.

Keywords:
Alcohol-attributed disease; Mortality; Alcohol taxation; Spatial analysis