One in four attempts to buy alcohol underage succeeds

Although it’s become more difficult for minors to buy alcoholic beverages in Switzerland, one in four underage clients still succeeds in buying wine, beer or hard alcohol, according to an official survey.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

The Federal Alcohol Board said the 5,500 tests carried out across the country last year revealed that, on average, youngsters in about 25% of cases could purchase alcohol, notably at parties and events late at night.

Access to alcohol for minors appears to have become more difficult in Switzerland over the past decade Keystone

The figure is 3% down on the previous year and a clear improvement over the year 2000 when the first tests were carried out. At that time, the survey found minors able to buy alcohol illegally in 83% of cases.

The legal age for the acquisition of hard liquor in Switzerland is 18, and 16 for beer and wine.

Although the situation has improved, the board notes that more co-ordination is needed among the country’s largely autonomous 26 cantons to establish the criteria for the tests and the possible sanctions against shops or bars selling to minors.

A reform of the law on alcohol, dating back to 1932, is currently pending in parliament. The government wants to ban sales of alcoholic beverages in shops from 10 o’clock at night till 6 in the morning.

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