When taxes on alcohol go up, consumption and related health and economic problems go down, a Maryland researcher told Utah lawmakers during a presentation on Wednesday.
Making drinkers pay more for beer, wine and spirits reduces drinking among the general population and among heavy drinkers and binge drinkers, David H. Jernigan, with the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, told members of the Business and Labor Interim Committee.
Utah has one of the highest rates of binge drinking in the nation, especially among teenagers. According to the 2013 "Underage Drinking in Utah" report, compiled by the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, while many Utah teens abstain from alcohol for religious reasons, those teens who do drink are much more likely to binge. Bingeing is defined as downing five or more drinks in a row.