Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences


This thesis, in fulfillment of the Masters requirements in Public Health, examines underage alcohol consumption in the United States and its association with retail and social access laws, alcohol excise taxes, and enforcement. The study objectives are to assess the availability and quality of consumption and policy data at the state level, describe the number and type of alcohol access policies enacted in the states since 1998, determine whether the number of exemptions placed on alcohol access policies are related to state underage drinking patterns across states, determine if two social access polices ⎯ keg registration and social host criminal liability laws ⎯ are associated with underage drinking rates, determine if liquor law enforcement is associated with rates of past month underage alcohol use, and determine the relationship between alcohol excise taxes and underage drinking. This study includes a secondary analysis of consumption and policy data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS), Uniform Crime Reports, and the Tax Foundation’s state alcohol excise tax tables. Analysis of variance and regression using general linear modeling reveal two key findings: 1) keg registration, enforcement and beer excise taxes were associated with past month underage drinking rates; 2) neither social host laws nor the number of exemptions to youth alcohol access laws are associated with underage drinking. Lack of population-based consumption data over time limits the analysis crossectionally. Policy implications and areas for future research are discussed.