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Alcohol Consumption Reduction: Alcohol Pricing


  • Alcohol reduction,
  • Economic environment,
  • Community,

Alcohol Pricing

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of many chronic diseases including certain types of cancer.1 In 2015, approximately 280 new cancer cases diagnosed in Alberta were linked to alcohol consumption.1 Responsible alcohol consumption can be positively influenced by our environments.

Research shows that increasing the price of alcohol can reduce how much individuals drink2.

Communites across Alberta are working with municipalities to implement alcohol related polices. Alcohol management bylaws and event planning requirements are some ways to reduce alcohol consumption.

Ways to get started

  • Support governments to increase the price of alcohol through alcohol taxes.3-8
  • Support government to create incentives through taxes or price adjustments to promote the production and marketing of lower alcohol content beers and coolers.
  • Support pricing policies for beverages with higher alcohol content.6,9,10
  • Support municipalities to reduce the density of alcohol outlets through licensing and zoning.6-8
  • Support municipalities and provincial government to reduce hours that the sale of alcohol is permitted.
  • Consider supporting existing initiatives to reduce risky alcohol use in bars and night time drinking environments or the harms of drinking and driving.4-6 Awareness around the harms of drinking or a link to available resources.
  • Plan to include or combine community-wide interventions. For example, a social campaign alongside a political change that alters the physical accessibility of alcohol.

For further action to reduce alcohol use in your community, see

Multi-component community-wide interventions to reduce alcohol use in your community will have greater impact than implementing single one-off strategies. Multi-component interventions may include policies that reduce the availability, affordability and access to alcohol in a community.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:

1. What you expect to learn or change
2. What you measure and report
3. How to measure impact

What you expect to learn about alcohol pricing may include:

  • Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
  • New or revised liquor-related policies
  • Increases in liquor prices
  • Reduced purchasing of liquor

References - Alcohol Pricing

  1. Grevers X, Ruan Y, Poirier AE, Walter SD, Villeneuve PJ, Friedenreich CM, Brenner DR. Estimates of the current and future burden of cancer attributable to alcohol consumption in Canada. Preventive Medicine. 2019;122:40-8.
  2. Guide to Community Preventive Services. Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption. Excessive Alcohol Consumption 2010; Accessed February 18, 2016.
  3. Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking. Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility - National Media Campaign. Vol 2016. Washington (DC): National Research Council (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) 2004.
  4. Albanese S, Bryson J. Let's start a conversation about alcohol in our community: report on alcohol use, harms and potential actions in Thunder Bay District. Thunder Bay (ON): Thunder Bay District Health Unit; 2015. Available from:
  5. World Health Organization (WHO). Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. Geneva (SW): WHO; 2010. Available from:
  6. Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC), Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Health Canada. Reducing alcohol-related harm in Canada: toward a culture of moderation. Ottawa (ON): National Alcohol Strategy Working Group; 2007. Available from:
  7. Durham Region Health Department, Region of Waterloo, Public Health, Halton Region Health Department, York Region Community and Health Services, Public Health Branch. Addressing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms at the local level: a resource for public health professionals in Ontario. Waterloo (ON): Alcohol Locally Driven Collaborative Project (LDCP); 2014. Available from:
  8. World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. Evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm. Geneva (SW): WHO; 2009. Available from:
  9. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Alcohol-use disorders: prevention. NICE guideline. London: NICE; 2010. Available from:
  10. Cancer Care Ontario, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). Taking action to prevent chronic disease: recommendations for a healthier Ontario. Toronto (ON): Cancer Care Ontario and Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario); 2012. Available from:
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