Major retailer Coop Group in Denmark supports raising the minimum legal age to 18 years for buying of all alcohol products in the country.
Currently, Danish young people above 16 years of age can buy alcohol products with an alcohol content of less than 16.5% from retail stores. This comprises mostly beer and wine products. For alcohol products with alcohol content over 16.5% the minimum age is 18 years. However, in bars and restaurants, the minimum legal age for serving alcohol is 18 years regardless of alcohol content.
Coop Group, which controls major retail chains including Fakta, Brugsen, and Kvickly, has said they support having a uniform minimum legal age for all alcohol products, where ever they are sold.
The announcement by Coop comes ahead of Health Minister Magnus Heunicke‘s (Social Democrats) meetings with various parties to discuss alcohol norms and effects on young people in Denmark.
Coop supports changing the minimum legal age to 18 years uniformly across all alcohol products and places they are sold. Coop Group Director Per Thau said that once there are uniform rules the retail trade can contribute by not selling alcohol to young people.
The prerequisite for us to succeed are clear, uniform rules,” said Per Thau, Director, Coop Group, as per Der Nordschleswiger.
Therefore, we consider an 18-year limit for all types of alcohol in all points of sale to be a reasonable solution.”Per Thau, Director, Coop Group
Research in the United States shows that after lowering of minimum legal age for alcohol use in 29 states between 1970 and 1975, traffic crashes increased significantly among teenagers. Research has further demonstrated that higher minimum age can save the lives of young people.
In the U.S. when states adopted a 21 year minimum legal age they saw a 16% median decline in motor vehicle crashes.
When all states adopted the 21 years minimum legal age for alcohol use the U.S. reported:
- Alcohol use during the previous month among persons aged 18 to 20 years declined from 59% in 1985 to 40% in 1991.
- Alcohol use among people aged 21 to 25 also declined significantly from 70% in 1985 to 56% in 1991.
Evidence is clear that the higher the minimum legal age for alcohol use the better it is for young people. Europe shows similar realities.
According to WHO Europe in 2016, among Danish youth between 15 to 19 years, about half of boys (50.6%) and over one-tenth of girls (14.9%) engaged in binge alcohol consumption. Meanwhile, 15.9% of Danish youth between 15 to 19 years die due to alcohol.
Raising the minimum legal age for alcohol use to 18 years, uniformly regardless of alcohol content or place of sale, can help prevent and reduce harm to children and youth caused by the products of the alcohol industry.