Welcome to The Community Guide’s new website. Comments and suggestions on the site’s look and feel are welcome: communityguide@cdc.gov.

Alcohol – Excessive Consumption: Maintaining Limits on Hours of Sale

Tabs

What the Task Force Found

About The Systematic Review

The Task Force finding is based on evidence from a systematic review of 16 studies (search period through February 2008). The review was conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice, and policy related to preventing excessive alcohol consumption.

Context

There is no information for this section.

Summary of Results

Increasing hours of sale by two or more hours in on-premises settings (e.g., bars and restaurants)

Ten studies qualified for the review. These studies reported on six events that changed the hours of alcohol sales by two or more hours.

  • Extending hours of sale by 2 to 4 hours was associated with:
    • An increase in alcohol consumption (1 study, Australia)
    • A relative increase in motor vehicle crash injuries ranging from 4% to 11% (2 studies, Australia)
    • A shift in timing of motor vehicle crashes corresponding to the change in closing time of the outlet (1 study, Australia)
  • Removing restrictions on hours of sale, i.e., allowing sales of alcohol 24 hours a day or allowing outlets to stay open to any hour, was associated with:
    • An increase in motor vehicle crash injuries (1 study, Australia)
    • An increase in emergency room admissions, injuries, fighting, and suspected driving while intoxicated (1 study, Iceland)
    • An increase in alcohol-related assault and injury (1 study, England)
    • A decrease in violent crime offenses (1 study, England)
    • A decrease in maxillofacial trauma (1 study, England)

Increasing hours of sale by less than two hours in on-premises settings (e.g., bars and restaurants)

Six studies qualified for the review. These studies reported on five events that changed the hours of alcohol sales by less than two hours.

  • Effect estimates from these studies were inconsistent, suggesting no substantial effect on alcohol-related outcomes of changes in hours of alcohol sales that are less than two hours.

Summary of Economic Evidence

An economic review of this intervention did not find any relevant studies.

Applicability

Results of this review are likely applicable to a variety of settings and geographic locations in the U.S. and other high-income countries.

Evidence Gaps

Each Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) review identifies critical evidence gaps—areas where information is lacking. Evidence gaps can exist whether or not a recommendation is made. In cases when the Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine whether an intervention strategy works, evidence gaps encourage researchers and program evaluators to conduct more effectiveness studies. When the Task Force recommends an intervention, evidence gaps highlight missing information that would help users determine if the intervention could meet their particular needs. For example, evidence may be needed to determine where the intervention will work, with which populations, how much it will cost to implement, whether it will provide adequate return on investment, or how users should structure or deliver the intervention to ensure effectiveness. Finally, evidence may be missing for outcomes different from those on which the Task Force recommendation is based.

Identified Evidence Gaps

  • All existing research on hours of sale to date has been conducted in nations other than the United States. It would be useful to have studies of changes in hours of sale in U.S. settings to confirm results from other settings.
  • All research thus far has assessed the effects of increasing hours of sale. While it may be a less frequent event, evaluating the effects of reducing hours of sale for preventing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms would be useful.
  • Evidence on changes in hours of sale of <2 hours is currently insufficient because of inconsistent findings. Thus, when such changes occur, it may be worthwhile to assess the effects of smaller changes in hours of sale on excessive alcohol consumption and related harms to improve our understanding of the “dose-response” and “threshold” relationships between changes in hours of sale and public health outcomes.
  • Additional research is needed to more fully assess the costs and benefits of restricting the number of hours when alcohol is sold. From a societal perspective, economic elements should include:
    • Intervention costs
    • Loss in sales, tax revenues, and employment
    • Reductions in fatal and nonfatal injuries, crime, and violence
    • Gains in safety and public order
    • Averted loss of household and workplace productivity
  • Finally, we found no studies that assessed the effects of changes in hours of sale in off-premises settings.  While consumers at off-premises settings are less likely to be directly affected by the effects of excessive consumption at the place of purchase, it is nevertheless possible that changes in availability in these settings may also affect alcohol-related harms.  This issue merits investigation.

Study Characteristics

Increasing hours of sale by two or more hours in on-premises settings (e.g., bars and restaurants)

  • Studies were conducted in Australia (6 studies of 4 events), England (3 studies of 1 event), and Iceland (1 study of 1 event).

Increasing hours of sale by less than two hours in on-premises settings (e.g., bars and restaurants)

  • Studies were conducted in Australia (2 studies of 2 events), Scotland (2 studies of 1 event), England and Wales (1 study of 1 event), and Canada (1 study of 1 event).

Publications