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Impacts of alcohol duty reductions on cardiovascular mortality among elderly Chinese: a 10-year time series analysis


Background In March 2007, the Hong Kong Government halved its heavy excise taxes on beer and wine, and 1 year later, it eliminated all duties on these beverages. This study examines the impact of such duty reductions on cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related mortality among the elderly in Hong Kong.

Methods Box-Jenkins autoregressive integrated moving average intervention time series analyses were applied to monthly morality data from 2001 to 2010 to quantify the impacts of duty reduction and exemption on CVD death rates among those aged 65 years or older.

Results The alcohol duty reduction in March 2007 was associated with an estimated 13% increase (95% CI 2% to 24%) in CVD death rates among elderly men, after controlling for the other intervention, outlier, trends and seasonal variations. This was equivalent to an extra 11 CVD deaths per 100 000 elderly men each month. Much of the observed impacts on CVD death rates were found to have contributed only by that on ischaemic heart disease mortality (18% increase in rate for men (95% CI 4% to 34%); 15% increase for women (95% CI 0.4% to 31%)), not by mortality due to stroke or hypertension. The alcohol duty exemption on March 2008 was not found to have impacted the CVD death rates.

Conclusions The increase in CVD death rates among the Chinese elderly after alcohol duty reduction suggest that the purported beneficial effect of moderate alcohol use may not apply to certain Chinese populations, adding fuel to the ongoing debate on the risks and benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on mortality.

  • Alcohol
  • Chd/Coronorary Heart
  • Health Policy
  • Mortality

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