Increasing the price of alcohol as an obesity prevention measure: The potential cost-effectiveness of introducing a uniform volumetric tax and a minimum floor price on alcohol in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this study was to estimate, from an obesity prevention perspective, the cost-effectiveness of two potential policies that increase the price of alcohol in Australia: a volumetric tax applied to all alcohol (Intervention 1) and a minimum unit floor price (Intervention 2). Estimated changes in alcoholic drink consumption and corresponding changes in energy intake were calculated using the 2011–12 Australian Health Survey data, published price elasticities, and nutrition information. The incremental changes in body mass index (BMI), BMI-related disease outcomes, healthcare costs, and Health Adjusted Life Years (HALYs) were estimated using a validated model. Costs associated with each intervention were estimated for government and industry. Both interventions were estimated to lead to reductions in mean alcohol consumption (Intervention 1: 20.7% (95% Uncertainty Interval (UI): 20.2% to 21.1%); Intervention 2: 9.2% (95% UI: 8.9% to 9.6%)); reductions in mean population body weight (Intervention 1: 0.9 kg (95% UI: 0.84 to 0.96); Intervention 2: 0.45 kg (95% UI: 0.42 to 0.48)); HALYs gained (Intervention 1: 566,648 (95% UI: 497,431 to 647,262); Intervention 2: 317,653 (95% UI: 276,334 to 361,573)); and healthcare cost savings (Intervention 1: $5.8 billion (B) (95% UI: $5.1B to $6.6B); Intervention 2: $3.3B (95% UI: $2.9B to $3.7B)). Intervention costs were estimated as $24M for Intervention 1 and $30M for Intervention 2. Both interventions were dominant, resulting in health gains and cost savings. Increasing the price of alcohol is likely to be cost-effective from an obesity prevention perspective in the Australian context, provided consumers substitute alcoholic beverages with low or no kilojoule alternatives.


  • Robinson, E
  • Nguyen, P
  • Jiang, Heng
  • Livingston, Michael
  • Ananthapavan, J
  • Lal, A
  • Sacks, G

publication date

  • 2020