Tests curb underage alcohol sales

Sales of alcohol to underage drinkers are going down, but one in four underage teenagers is still able to buy alcohol at shops and restaurants.

This content was published on May 23, 2011 minutes and agencies

In test purchases in 23 cantons, 5.8 per cent fewer underage buyers were able to buy alcohol in 2010 than in 2009, according to figures released on Monday by the Swiss Alcohol Board.

In the past decade, illegal alcohol sales to underage test buyers has dropped from 83.5 per cent to 26.8 per cent. In seven of the 23 cantons doing the tests, the rate has even fallen below 20 per cent. Between 2000 and 2010, 15,000 tests were carried out.

Shops and restaurants are now in the habit of checking identification, with 75 per cent asking test buyers for proof of their age.

The Swiss Alcohol Board says tests are helping to curb illegal sales, but add that despite the positive trend it shouldn’t be forgotten that underage drinkers can still buy alcohol.

Under Swiss law beer and wine cannot be sold to anyone under 16 and spirits to people under 18.

In measures under review, the government wants to clamp down on offers for cheap alcohol.

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