State Alcohol Policies, Taxes, and Availability as Predictors of Adolescent Binge Alcohol Use Trajectories into Early Adulthood
Background and Aims
A number of alcohol policies in the United States have been presumed to reduce underage youth alcohol use. This study characterized underage youth binge‐alcohol use trajectories into early adulthood and tested associations with the strength of the alcohol policy environment, beer excise taxes and number of liquor stores.
Longitudinal cohort study.
A national cohort of 10th graders in 2010 (n = 2753), assessed annually from 2010 to 2015.
Participants reported on their 30‐day binge alcohol use [defined as consuming five or more+ (for boys) or four or more (for girls) alcoholic beverages within 2 hours]. The researchers scored the strength of 19 state‐level policies at baseline and summarized them into an overall score and two subdomain scores.
The researchers also assessed state beer excise taxes (dollars/gallon) and linked the number of liquor stores in 1 km to the participants’ geocoded address.
The study identified five binge‐alcohol use trajectories:
- low‐risk (32.9%),
- escalating (26.1%),
- late‐onset (13.8%),
- chronic (15.1%) and
- decreasing (12.0%).
Lower overall alcohol policy strength was associated with increased risk of being in the escalating versus low‐risk binge‐alcohol use class.
Higher beer excise taxes were associated with a reduced risk of being in the escalating class.
The number of liquor stores was not significantly associated with any binge‐alcohol use trajectory.
In the United States, stronger state alcohol policies and higher beer excise taxes appear to be associated with lower risk of escalating alcohol consumption trajectories among underage youth.