Poll: Americans Approve of Alcohol Tax Increases

A nationwide poll by the American Medical Association (AMA) finds that most Americans support state tax hikes on alcohol to fund education, healthcare, and law-enforcement efforts related to drinking, the American Medical News reported May 6.

The survey by the AMA Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse also found that 90 percent of Americans are worried about teenage and underage drinking.

“Alcohol abuse costs Americans more than $148 billion each year in healthcare and social costs. Among the most vulnerable of these drinkers are teens,” said AMA President-elect John Nelson, MD, MPH.

Currently seven states are considering increases in their alcohol tax to address underage-drinking problems. “As with smoking, the price of alcohol matters, especially with teenagers,” said Richard Yoast, M.D., director of the AMA’s Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. “Just as price increases for tobacco reduce consumption and disease, higher alcohol prices are proven to reduce everything from violent crimes to rape. The difference is taxes on cigarettes have been increased frequently and significantly over the years while alcohol taxes have remained astoundingly behind the times.”

The telephone survey of 800 registered voters nationwide took place from April 15 to 18.