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Banning Happy Hours: The Impact on Drinking and Impaired-Driving Charges in Ontario, Canada

Reginald G. Smart, Edward M. Adlaf

The effect of happy hour discounts on alcohol consumption has become an important policy concern. Few studies, however, have examined this relationship. To examine the impact of banning happy hours in Ontario, an observational study of patron alcohol consumption was conducted in five taverns before and after the ban. Aggregate alcohol sales and impaired-driving charges were also collected. The results indicated no significant preban-postban differences in alcohol consumption among all individuals nor within taverns. Aggregate alcohol sales data also indicated no significant trends over a similiar period. Although a significant decline for impaired-driving charges was suggested, it could not be causally attributed to the independent effect of the happy hour ban. Substantial price reductions may be required before increased alcohol consumption is discernable. Future research could focus on this issue.