Lithuanian stores begin demanding ID from all alcohol buyers
In Lithuania’s largest retail stores all buyers will have to provide identification documents specifying their age – according to a new self-regulation move by the alcohol industry. The companies proposing the self-regulation scheme say that their goal is to decrease sales of alcohol to minors and increase public awareness.
The new system is illustrated in a memorandum, which the companies signed with Health Care Minister Juras Pozela in June.
But the move is receiving considerable criticism.
Public health experts contend that the self-regulation move is more aimed at deflecting society’s outrage over the failure to reduce alcohol harm in the country.
The alcohol industry might also use the scheme as a public relations exercise, critics say, to escape legislation that would limit alcohol sales sales to specialised stores, or that would at least curb opening hours.
Aurelijus Veryga, president of the National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition who is running for parliament with the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union, attests that the plan’s aim is giving businessmen
extra levers to put politicians under the obligation of negotiating with them.”
The union’s leader Ramunas Karbauskis has a more outspoken opinion, stating that the campaign taunts society. In his words, the political force will suggest a state monopoly in alcohol trade.
Antanas Matulus, a member of the parliamentary Health Affairs Committee, has rejected the idea as ambiguous.