A national assessment of on-premise drinking establishments near public universities: Drink prices, drink specials, indoor tobacco use, and state-level alcohol laws

Cassidy R. LoParco, Andrew Walker, Melvin D. Livingston, Bita Khoshhal, Kwynn M. Gonzalez-Pons, Eric Soule, Ryan Treffers, Matthew E. Rossheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Inexpensive drinks and price promotions increase alcohol consumption and have been observed at on-premise drinking establishments near large colleges. Some bars may sell tobacco products and allow indoor tobacco use to encourage patrons to stay and drink more. This study examined drink prices/specials and associated practices of on-premise drinking establishments including tobacco sales and policies regarding tobacco use. Methods: In 2018, telephone calls about prices/practices were made to 403 randomly selected bars/nightclubs within 2 miles of large residential universities in each U.S. state. The Alcohol Policy Information System provided data on state-level alcohol laws. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models examined associations between alcohol prices/specials, state laws, and establishment practices. Results: The average price for the least expensive draft beer and a vodka shot at each location were $3.62 (SD = $1.15) and $4.77 (SD = $1.16), respectively. Most establishments (65%) had happy hour specials, 6% had 2-for-1 specials, 91% sold food, 9% sold cigarettes, 8% allowed smoking indoors, and 18% permitted electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use indoors. Allowing e-cigarette use indoors (b = −0.54) and selling cigarettes (b = −0.79) were associated with lower vodka prices; allowing cigarette smoking indoors (b = −0.46) was associated with lower beer prices. Lower beer prices (OR = 1.38), selling food (OR = 2.97), and no state law banning happy hour specials altogether (OR = 4.24) or with full-day price reduction exemptions (OR = 12.74) were associated with higher odds of having happy hour specials. Allowing e-cigarette use indoors was associated with having 2-for-1 specials (OR = 6.38). Conclusion: In bars near large public universities, beers and shots were often available for less than $5 and drink specials were prevalent. Further, some establishments allowed tobacco use indoors and/or sold cigarettes. Laws that increase alcohol taxes, set minimum drink prices, and ban the sale and indoor use of tobacco products at on-premise drinking locations are important harm reduction tools.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • happy hour
  • law
  • price
  • tobacco

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