247542 Raising alcohol excise taxes: Lessons learned from the Maryland experience

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rebecca Reynolds-Ramirez, MPH , Consultant, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
David H. Jernigan, PhD , Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Meta-analyses and systematic reviews of the research literature have established the effectiveness of raising alcohol taxes and prices in reducing alcohol-related harm. While the potential public health benefits that result from increases in alcohol beverage prices are well documented, translational research is needed to understand the process and strategies that can lead to increased taxes and prices. This presentation will report the findings of a case study analysis of a two-year initiative in Maryland to raise alcohol excise taxes and devote the income to health care access, health care worker training, mental health and developmental disabilities services, and alcohol and other drug treatment and prevention. Researchers collected all relevant background documents that pertained to the strategies used to educate lawmakers and the general public regarding the public health benefits of increases in alcohol excise taxes. Key informants public health advocates and researchers, legislators, lobbyists, faith leaders, business owners, and alcohol industry members were contacted and interviewed to assess their opinion of the components of a successful campaign, barriers to be overcome, strategies for engaging media coverage and attracting policy makers' attention and commitment, and principal opposition arguments and responses to them. The case study presentation provides descriptions and illustrations of key campaign elements, and recommendations and lessons learned for future efforts to influence alcohol excise rates.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the six key stages for organizing an initiative to increase alcohol excise taxes. 2. Discuss the challenges faced in campaigns to raise alcohol excise taxes, and identify concrete examples of how coalitions can overcome these barriers. 3. Identify and evaluate key decision points in a campaign process, and compare the Maryland case to efforts in other states to increase alcohol excise taxes

Keywords: Advocacy, Alcohol

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead researcher on the case study project, and I have ten years of experience in the alcohol policy field.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.