A4. Tackling Under-Age Alcohol Sales: Benefits to public health

Benefits to public health

In 2009 the Chief Medical Officer for England published guidance on the consumption of alcohol by children and young people. This advised that the consumption of alcohol during any stage of childhood can have a harmful effect on a child’s development. Alcohol use during teenage years is related to a wide range of health and social problems, and young people who begin drinking before age 15 are more likely to experience problems related to alcohol.

Parents and young people should be aware that drinking, even at age 15 or over, can be harmful to health and young people’s access to alcohol should be restricted.

Restricting children’s access to alcohol will help contribute to lowering the range and severity of health harms and behavioural problems associated with young people drinking. Although we know that most young people obtain alcohol through friends and family there is still a significant number who illegally obtain alcohol from on and off-trade premises. This is especially true of those who drink the most and are at greatest risk of harm.

The benefit to employers and employees

Having staff that are aware of the age verification rules and are trained in how to apply the schemes means it is less likely that premises will breach the rules, the penalties for which are becoming increasingly severe.

Local authorities carry out test purchasing schemes to monitor compliance, and follow up on customer complaints. Being able to demonstrate that age verification procedures have been followed and that staff are adequately trained will help make businesses less likely to fail these inspections.

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