OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this project was to evaluate how changes to the sale of alcohol in New Brunswick would be distributed across urban and rural communities, and low- and high-income neighbourhoods. The study objectives were to 1) estimate the population living close to alcohol outlets before and after liquor distribution reforms, 2) identify communities or regions that would be more or less affected, and 3) determine whether expanding access to alcohol products would reduce school proximity to retailers. METHODS: Data from Statistics Canada, Desktop Mapping Technologies Inc. (DMTI), and geocoded publicly available information were spatially linked and analyzed using descriptive statistics. The populations living within 499 m, 500-999 m and 1-5 km of an outlet were estimated, and the distances from schools to stores were examined by geographic characteristics and neighbourhood socio-economic status. RESULTS: Permitting the sale of alcohol in all grocery stores throughout the province would increase the number of liquor outlets from 153 to 282 and would increase the population residing within 499 m of an outlet by 97.49%, from 19 886 to 39 273 residents. The sale of alcohol in grocery stores would result in an additional 35 liquor sales outlets being located within 499 m of schools. Low-income neighbourhoods would have the highest number and proportion of stores within 499 m of schools. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study demonstrate the importance of considering social, economic and health inequities in the context of alcohol policy reforms that will disproportionately affect low-income neighbourhoods and youth living within these areas.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Alcohol policy, Public health, Substance abuse, Youth
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.108.6132
Journal Canadian Journal of Public Health
Slaunwhite, A.K. (Amanda K.), McEachern, J. (Julie), Ronis, S.T. (Scott T.), & Peters, P. (2017). Alcohol distribution reforms and school proximity to liquor sales outlets in New Brunswick. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 108(5-6), e488–e496. doi:10.17269/cjph.108.6132