David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is available to comment on a new study examining alcohol taxes and car crashes. He can also comment on pending alcohol tax legislation across the country.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, finds increasing state alcohol taxes could prevent thousands of deaths a year from car crashes. Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes account for almost 10,000 deaths every year in the United States. Accounting for inflation, taxes on alcoholic drinks in the U.S. have fallen substantially, helping to make alcohol more affordable than ever.
Dr. David Jernigan, PhD, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says, “This new study provides compelling evidence that raising alcohol taxes is an effective approach to reducing the harms of excessive alcohol consumption, particularly among young people. The researchers found that fatal alcohol-related car crashes involving young people in Illinois declined 37 percent after a 2009 increase in the state's alcohol tax. Raising state alcohol taxes could save thousands of lives each year, and should be seen as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing alcohol-related harm.”
Jernigan was not an author of the research.
According to the watchdog group Alcohol Justice, alcohol tax bills are pending in several states: New York (raise beer, wine and spirits tax), South Dakota (raise wine and spirits tax), Washington (raise spirits tax temporarily then decrease it substantially over time), and Virginia (raise the price slightly in state stores – signed and effective 7/1/15).
In 2014, CAMY unveiled an online tool estimating the impact of different alcohol tax scenarios on jobs for each of the 50 states and DC. The tool is designed to help communities across the country determine how different alcohol tax scenarios could impact employment in their state, and also provides quantitative information on how much consumers would pay based on their drinking habits, income and employment status.