State Alcohol Taxes and Health:
A Citizen's Action Guide


This handbook provides an overview of issues relating to alcohol taxes and health. It identifies -- or directs you to -- the information you will need to inspire public debate about the benefits of higher alcohol excise taxes at the state level. It discusses strategies for collecting and generating data and for carrying out effective public education campaigns. The guide offers examples of recent initiatives, many of them successful, that other activists have energetically undertaken.

In all likelihood, you’ll be a trailblazer in your efforts to organize a constituency in support of higher alcohol taxes. That challenge brings its own reward. You’ll be providing an important, new, public voice. Your campaign will assist policy makers, state health officials, and members of the media in addressing community alcohol problems and costs and exploring a potentially effective means of reducing them.

In coming years, combating the costs of alcohol use and generating adequate state revenues will continue to be among the critical issues facing state governments throughout the United States. In working to promote higher alcohol taxes, you have an opportunity to strengthen the public debates on health care costs, public safety, education, and taxes. Your work on alcohol taxes and health will contribute significantly to improving the quality of life in your state and advancing the basic principles of public health.

CSPI 1996

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