Latest survey data from Gallup show that 75% of Americans believe alcohol negatively affects society and 71% believe alcohol negatively affects the user.
However, alcohol use levels in the U.S. have not reduced despite this awareness. The U.S. federal government needs to improve alcohol policy solutions, specifically taxation to better protect people from the harm caused by alcohol companies.

All people want to live happy and healthy lives. And since the COVID-19 pandemic health has become even more important for people and communities. And people’s awareness has increased about the combined negative effects of underlying conditions, such as non-communicable diseases, and risk factors such as alcohol, with the coronavirus. This lethal interaction has been fueled by alcohol companies that exploited the pandemic to push their products on people.

Many people in the United States (U.S.) have realized that alcohol causes negative effects on the person using it and also on society.

A new survey on what Americans think about alcohol harm found remarkable results:

  • 75% said alcohol negatively affected society negatively.
    • 55% said somewhat negatively, and
    • 20% said very negatively.
  • 71% said alcohol negatively affected the person who uses alcohol.
    • 52% said somewhat negatively, and
    • 19% said very negatively.
Awareness of alcohol’s second-hand harm
In a recent U.S. survey, 75% of people reported alcohol negatively affected society negatively, showing Americans’ awareness of alcohol’s second-hand harm.

Those who consume alcohol were likely to see alcohol use as “somewhat” negative for both society and the user, while those who are alcohol-free understood alcohol as “very negative”.

Meanwhile, women were seven percentage points more likely than men to see alcohol as negative for both society and the user.

Alcohol use in the U.S.

Despite their understanding of alcohol’s negative effects, alcohol use in rising in the U.S. As per Gallup’s tracking, alcohol use has more or less remained steady since 1939. The percentage of Americans saying they had the occasion to use alcohol has remained between 55% and 71% during these years. In 1939 alcohol use was at 58% reaching the highest at 71% in 1976-1978 and again 70% in 1980. Then alcohol use declined to 57% in 1990 and was on a gradual increase to 67% in 2010 and again this year in 2022. This is higher than alcohol use reported last year which was 60%.

Among those who do consume alcohol,

  • 3 in 10 report having alcohol in the past 24 hours,
  • 36% have had alcohol in the past week, and
  • 33% say they had alcohol over a week ago.

On average Americans had 3.9 units of alcohol per week.

In a more concerning trend, those who are using stronger alcohol products have been increasing in the U.S. In 2022, 30% reported consuming liquor a new high since Gallup began the survey. Meanwhile, beer use declined to 35% – one of the lowest rates over the past three decades. The use of wine is at 31%, maintaining a steady rate over the years.

One of the most effective alcohol policy solutions to reduce alcohol use for better public health is increasing alcohol taxes. Nevertheless, alcohol taxes in the U.S. have fallen to a historic low, even below marijuana taxes according to a new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

There are three reasons why alcohol taxes have fallen this low:

  1. Low rates of alcohol taxes to begin with,
  2. Failure to adjust alcohol taxes to inflation that drives affordability reductions over time, and
  3. Handouts to Big Alcohol in the form of tax breaks by federal and state governments.

Alcohol is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. A study in 2019 showed that even considering all tax types – including federal and state – total alcohol taxes account for only one-tenth of alcohol-related costs in the United States.

There is an urgent need for the U.S. to address its growing alcohol problem. At the current state of alcohol policy, the U.S. stands to lose more lives to alcohol at a growing cost to the government. 

Source Website: Gallup