Level of research support: Strong evidence of effectiveness
What is it?
The pricing and marketing of both legal drugs (e.g., alcohol, tobacco) and illegal drugs (e.g., cannabis) strongly affect levels of consumer demand. The higher the price, the lower the demand.
Young people and heavy consumers of tobacco and alcohol are particularly at risk of harm, and are most likely to reduce their consumption when costs increase and marketing strategies are controlled.
Why do it?
Price and availability of alcohol and illegal drugs are critical in determining their level of use in society and the level of harmful outcomes (Stockwell et al., 2010). Making alcohol and tobacco products less accessible by increasing their price has consistently been identified as the most effective strategy for reducing the burden of disease and social harm associated with use of these substances (Loxley et al., 2004; Babor et al., 2003).
Laissez-faire sales and marketing practices are strong predictors of alcohol-related harm, especially among new and younger drinkers. Increases in the price of alcoholic drinks have been shown to reduce liver cirrhosis deaths, alcohol-related road crashes and assaults. By contrast, low prices, largely associated with drink discounts, special offers and happy hours, have been correlated with binge drinking, physical violence, impaired driving and traffic deaths (CARBC, 2006; Stockwell, 2010).
Who is it for?
Who can facilitate it?
How can we implement it?
Sources and related material
Centre for Addictions Research of BC
909 - 510 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 3A8
Phone: (604) 408-7753
Fax: (604) 408-7731