Raising alcohol tax will reduce underage drinking

April 13, 2011

I applaud the courageous vote of the Maryland state legislature to raise the tax on alcoholic beverages. Aside from the obvious tax windfall, there is evidence from over 110 professional, peer-reviewed papers that such tax increases reduce underage alcohol use.

As a pediatrician with a busy practice, I no longer ask teens if they drink. The Youth Risk Behavior Study in Maryland has shown that 82 percent of graduating seniors have used alcohol, and a quarter of them have engaged in binge drinking. Kids don't understand the lifelong, devastating effects on their developing brains from alcohol.

The increased tax will help us fight the uphill battle against alcohol use by teens. The evidence proves it.

Daniel J. Levy, Owings Mills

The writes is past president of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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