Year: 2023 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2023). 27(2), 339-352. DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2021.1999873 SIEC No: 20231239
Objective: It is reasonable to believe that the alcohol policy environment can impact the suicide mortality rates in a given country, considering the well-known link between alcohol use and death by suicide. The current literature, albeit limited, suggests that an increase in alcohol taxation may result in a decrease in deaths by suicide and that the effect is sex-specific. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to test the impact of three alcohol control policy enactments (in 2008, 2017 and 2018) on suicide mortality among adults 25-74 years of age in Lithuania, by sex. Methods: To estimate the unique impact of three alcohol control policies, we conducted interrupted time-series analyses by employing a generalized additive mixed model on monthly sex-specific age-standardized suicide mortality rates from January 2001 to December 2018. Results: Analyses showed a significant impact of the 2017 (p = 0.016) alcohol control policy on suicide mortality for men only. Specifically, we estimated that in the year following the 2017 policy enactment, approximately 57 (95% CI: 9-107) deaths by suicide were prevented among men, 25-74 years of age. The three policy enactments tested were not found to significantly impact the suicide mortality rate among women. Conclusion: Alcohol control policies involving pricing, which result in a notable decrease in alcohol affordability, could be a cost-effective indirect suicide prevention mechanism in not only countries of the former Soviet Union, but in other high-income countries with a comparable health care system to that in Lithuania. HIGHLIGHTSIncreasing excise tax on alcohol was found to have a sex-specific impact on suicide mortalityThe 2017 alcohol policy prevented 57 deaths by suicide among men, 25-74 years of age, in the following yearAlcohol pricing policies may be a cost-effective indirect suicide prevention mechanism.