Luxembourg's new alcohol proposals are misguided
Brussels, 10 March 2020 - TODAY, spiritsEUROPE has written to the Luxembourg Ministry for Health and Economic Affairs to caution against prospective plans to raise the legal purchasing age for spirits, but not for beer or wine.
Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE warned that such a move would mislead consumers to believe that beer or wine are in some way different from spirits:
“Raising the legal purchasing age for spirits risks sending a message to young people that they can drink beer and wine with less risk. It is not true and it is dangerous. All alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation, by those who are of age, and we must ensure that we do not mislead consumers to believe that any alcohol is healthier than another, or acceptable for those underage.”
The WHO notes that 80% of alcohol consumed is Luxembourg is either beer or wine and that only 20% is in the form of spirits. Additionally, a report commissioned by the European Commission shows that 66% of alcohol consumed by young people across the EU is from categories other than spirits. The same report, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, also shows that beer is the most popular category of alcohol for young people, not spirits.
“Any measure targeting spirits alone would ignore two thirds of alcohol consumption by young people which demonstrates why this proposal is misguided” continued Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE.
The spirits sector invests in educational initiatives to reduce underage drinking and in January of this year, along with the beer and wine sectors as part of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, committed to introduce clear age-restriction labels on all drinks. A recent report from IARD showed that binge drinking amongst those aged 15-19 fell by 28% between 2010 and 2016 showing the great progress that has been made in Europe.
“Europeans are drinking more and more responsibly and proposals such as this could work against this trend by sending a message to those underage that it’s acceptable to drink alcohol, when it is not. We hope that the government will reconsider this proposal and we are ready to work with them to tackle harmful drinking in a sensible way” concluded Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information, please contact: Eoin Keane/ Head of Advocacy / Tel: + 32 (2) 774 5346 / firstname.lastname@example.org
IARD’s report detailing heavy episodic drinking trends can be found here: https://iard.org/getattachment/ac5eaa00-c6fa-4fb1-b285-832358db2794/trends-report-heavy-episodic-drinking-2019.pdf