(HealthDay News) — States with strong alcohol control policies have lower death rates connected to alcohol-related liver damage, according to a study published online October 15 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Researchers gave states scores based on their alcohol control policies, such as taxes, retail price restrictions, and hours-of-sale limits. The stronger the policies, the higher the score.

A 10-point increase in the score was associated with 9% fewer alcoholic cirrhosis deaths among all women, the investigators found. When American Indian/Alaska Natives were not included, a 10-point increase in a state’s alcohol policy score was associated with 11% fewer deaths in both sexes and 18% fewer alcoholic cirrhosis deaths among women alone.

The strongest link between alcohol policies and alcoholic cirrhosis mortality rates was in the northeastern United States, according to study author Scott Hadland, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues from Boston University School of Health and Georgia State University. The results also add to recent research showing that stronger state alcohol control policies are associated with lower rates of binge drinking, the study authors noted in a journal news release.

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