The introduction of the Alcohol Act in Scotland on 1 October 2011, which included a ban on multi-buy promotions, was likely associated with a fall in off-trade alcohol sales in the year after its implementation. A study tested if the same legislation was associated with reduced levels of alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions in the 3-year period after its introduction. Comparisons were made with unexposed populations in the rest of Great Britain.
For alcohol-related deaths, there were a total of 17,732 in Scotland and 88,001 in England/Wales across 169 four-week periods between January 2001 and December 2013. For alcohol-related hospital admissions, there were a total of 121,314 in Scotland and 696,892 in England across 182 four-week periods between January 2001 and December 2014. Data were obtained by age, sex and area-based socioeconomic position.
There was no evidence to suggest that the Alcohol Act was associated with changes in the overall rate of alcohol-related deaths [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.99, 95% confidence interval (0.91 to 1.07)] or hospital admissions [IRR 0.98 (0.95 to 1.02)] in Scotland. In control group analyses, the pseudo intervention variable was not associated with a change in alcohol-related death rates in England/Wales [IRR 0.99 (0.95 to 1.02)], but was associated with an increase in alcohol-related hospital admission rates in England [IRR 1.05 (1.03 to 1.07)]. In combined models, the interaction analysis did not provide support for a 'net effect' of the legislation on alcohol-related deaths in Scotland compared with England/Wales [IRR 0.99 (0.95 to 1.04)], but suggested a net reduction in hospital admissions for Scotland compared with England [IRR 0.93 (0.87 to 0.98)].
The implementation of the Alcohol Act in Scotland has not been associated clearly with a reduction in alcohol-related deaths or hospital admissions in the 3-year period after it was implemented in October 2011, the authors conclude.
Source: The short term impact of the Alcohol Act on alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions in Scotland: a natural experiment. Robinson M, Bouttell J, Lewsey J, Mackay D, McCartney G, Beeston C. Addiction. 2017 Sep 6. doi: 10.1111/add.14019.