Liquor Taxes and Sexually Transmitted Infections
Maryland increased its liquor taxes in 2011 and a sharp decrease in the rate of new gonorrhea infections immediately followed. Researchers have determined that the two events are closely linked.
The study, in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, used three control groups to exclude other explanations for the decline. The first control group included all states that did not change alcohol taxes. The second group looked at states that did not share a border with Maryland, in order to avoid bias from people buying liquor in nearby states where the taxes were lower. And the third group eliminated states in which the government has a monopoly on hard liquor sales, since prices may rise in those states even without an increase in taxes.
这项研究发表在《美国预防医学杂志》(American Journal of Preventive Medicine)上，它使用了三个对照组来排除感染率下降的其他解释。第一个对照组纳入了所有未改变酒类税的州。第二组研究了与马里兰州不接壤的州，以避免因人们从附近税收较低的州购买酒类而产生的偏倚。第三组排除了那些由政府垄断烈性酒销售的州，因为即使没有加税，这些州的酒类价格也可能会上涨。
In 2011, the Maryland liquor tax rose to 9 percent from 6 percent. After the increase, Maryland’s gonorrhea rate declined by 24 percent — the equivalent of 1,600 cases per year. There was no decrease in the control states.
The authors suggest that decreased alcohol consumption decreases sexual risk-taking, including unprotected sex, casual sex and sex with new partners.
“Policy makers should consider raising liquor taxes if they’re looking for ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections,” said the lead author, Stephanie A.S. Staras, an assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine. “In the year and a half following the alcohol tax rise in Maryland, this prevented 2,400 cases of gonorrhea and saved half a million dollars in health care costs.”
“如果政策制定者们在寻找防止性传播感染的途径，他们应该考虑提高酒类税，”该研究的主要作者，美国佛罗里达大学医学院(University of Florida College of Medicine)的助理教授斯蒂芬妮·A·S·斯塔拉斯(Stephanie A.S. Staras)说。“在马里兰州酒类税上涨后的一年半期间，这一举措预防了2400例淋病，节省了约50万美元的医疗费用。”