The Finnish government was responding to an EU-wide harmonisation of travellers’ allowances in January 2004, and introduced the tax cuts to protect domestic sales. Finns were crossing the border to buy cheap booze in Estonia, which was set to join the European Union in May of that year. Finland, which operates a state retail monopoly on alcohol, carried out a pre-emptive measure in March to prevent excessive imports and thereby drastic losses in tax revenues. Sales tax was lowered by an average of 33% – much more for spirits (44%) – and retail prices fell by around 22% in consequence. As expected, sales – and therefore consumption levels - rose immediately. Recorded domestic sales in March 2004 were 50% higher than a year earlier, and total per capita consumption increased by 10% from 9.4 litres in 2003 to 10.3 litres in 2004.
In health terms, this had a dramatic and immediate effect on the rate of sudden deaths while under the influence of alcohol, such as accidents, suicides, homicides and alcoholic poisonings. Researchers analysed post-mortem forensic toxicology data (blood alcohol levels) over a 15-year period to account for seasonal and long-term variations. From March 2004 they identified a rise in alcohol-positive sudden deaths of 17% – an estimated eight additional deaths per week.
To bring the story up to date, travellers’ imports into Finland have now reached a plateau and future increases are likely to be prevented by the raising of excise duty in Estonia (up 5% in January 2005 and further increases planned for 2008). The Finnish government is also considering increasing the national alcohol tax levels. There is awareness that tax changes are an important policy lever which can be used for good or ill. The authors state: “Raising tax levels has been found to be the most cost-effective measure in reducing alcohol consumption and thus alcohol-related harms. Our study shows that taxation can influence the rate of alcohol-positive sudden deaths. A high taxation level cannot, however, be maintained without cooperation with neighbouring countries.”
Anna Koski, Reino Sirén, Erkki Vuori, Kari Poikolainen (2007): Alcohol tax cuts and increase in alcohol-positive sudden deaths - a time-series intervention analysis. ADDICTION 102 (3), 362–368.
Paivi Lehtinen | alfa
Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research