Reference : The law of 2009 concerning the selling and serving of alcohol to youths: from state o...
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Law, criminology & political science : Criminology
The law of 2009 concerning the selling and serving of alcohol to youths: from state of the art to assessment
Van Havere, Tina []
Dirkx, Nicky []
Vander Laenen, Freya []
De Clercq, Bart []
Buijs, Thomas []
Mathys, Cécile mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Dép. de criminologie : Ecole liégeoise de crimino J.Constant > Délinquance juvénile >]
van Praet, Sarah []
Deforche, Bénédicte []
El Houti, Adam [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences sociales > Département des sciences sociales >]
Van Damme, Joris []
Van der Kreeft, Peter []
Lemaître, André mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences sociales > Criminologie >]
[en] Alcohol consumption is a widely discussed topic in the field of health issues in the world. Delaying the onset of drinking should be a key issue in alcohol prevention (WHO, 2014b) . Although age limits on the use of alcohol exist throughout Europe, alcohol use by youngsters of 15 and 16 years of age is common (Mulder & De Greeff, 2013a). Also in Belgium, where the minimum age limit for the use of alcohol is 16, it is clear that the majority of less than 16 year olds already drank alcohol in their life (Melis, Rosiers, & Geirnaert, 2014). Indeed, a recent study related to alcohol use among adolescents in Europe (Steketee, Jonkman, Berten, & Vettenburg, 2013) showed, from a sample size of 33.566 students from 25 countries (from 11 to 18 years old, x age= 13,90), that overall lifetime prevalence rate for beer, wine and breezers was 60,1% and 34,2% for spirits. Similar data were found in Belgium by the CRIOC study (2010) including 2.519 youths (from 10 to 17 years olds) where 65% of them had already drunk alcohol and 28% drank at least one glass of alcohol every week.
Many factors may contribute to these high figures of underage alcohol consumption, but easy access to alcohol is generally assumed to play a significant role (Gosselt et al., 2007). Availability can be influenced by national policies that restrict supply and availability; such seems to be a proven effective policy (Babor et al., 2010). One of the possible measures taken by a government to reduce availability is establishing a minimum legal drinking age which has been a proven effective national health policy measure (Achterberg, 2011). Therefore, the legislation in Belgium was adapted in 2009. However, a newly introduced alcohol policy relies on retailers’ willingness to refuse to sell alcohol to underage customers. Before they are willing to comply, their knowledge of the new legislation is key. Indeed, another study of CRIOC (2009) including 160 sellers and shops showed that underage youths, using the mystery shopping method, obtained alcohol in 8 out of 10 selling points. Some possible reasons of non-compliance have been suggested but have not been clearly examined (e.g. motivational, psychological, economic, educational reasons) (Centre de Recherche et d'Information des, 2010; Kuendig et al., 2008). Finally, legal age restrictions without enforcement at different levels (federal, regional and local) are not sufficient (Gosselt, van Hoof, de Jong, & Prinsen, 2007) and so different levels (federal, regional and local) should pay attention to enforcement. The effect of enforcement is considered to be twofold: it influences the direct availability of alcohol and it influences the societal norms, attitudes and beliefs in society (Mulder & De Greeff, 2013a)(Wagenaar, 2011 in Mulder & de Greef, 2013).
So far, the Belgian alcohol law from 2009, has not been evaluated. Therefore, the aim of this project is sixfold.
WP 1. A critical analysis of relevant indicators of the new law of 2009 on drinking age limits which influence the behaviour of young people. Views on enforcement.
WP 2. Evaluate empirically the impact of the alcohol law from 2009 on alcohol availability and consumption.
WP 3. Evaluate the knowledge of sellers and young people regarding the 2009 law.
WP 4. Feasibility study on test purchasing research (“mystery shopping”)
WP 5. A practice-based perspective on the 2009 legislation by prevention workers and health promoters
WP6: General conclusions and policy recommendations
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students ; General public

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