In 2003, Denmark lowered its tax on spirits, and in 2004, Sweden increased its traveller import quotas. Aim: The aim of the study was to determine whether these two changes increased self-reported alcohol consumption in southern Sweden, which is located near Denmark.
Data were collected through telephone interviews with the general population between 2003 and 2006. Individuals aged 16–80 years were interviewed. Some lived in southern Sweden, others in the northern region, which was assumed to be unaffected by the policy changes and was thus used as a control site. Analyses were performed for the total population as well as by sex, age, socio-economic group and consumption pattern.
The expected results were not found: alcohol consumption in southern Sweden had not changed. The few statistically significant changes found in southern Sweden indicated decreases. In the north, however, consumption seemed to have increased.
In addition to the two policy changes mentioned above, other changes seem to have affected alcohol consumption in Sweden. It is possible, however, that the policy changes have affected population groups not reached by the survey, and thus other types of data need to be analysed before drawing any far-reaching conclusions.