The Lithuanian Free Market Institute has examined draft amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control aimed at tighter controls and additional sale restrictions of alcoholic beverages and submitted its comments and proposals to relevant authorities.
In its position paper LFMI noted that:
- the proposed prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages to persons younger than 20 years of age would make Lithuania’s alcohol control the most stringent in the European Union. On the contrary, a number of EU countries already allow the sale of alcoholic beverages to persons younger than 18 years of age;
- Lithuanian policy towards the sale of alcoholic beverages is already among the most stringent in Europe. For example, around half of EU Member States do not restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages to certain hours or do not prohibit the sale in petrol stations;
- Lithuanian laws already provide extensive restrictions on alcohol advertising, surpassing the majority of countries. According to the data of the World Health Organization, outdoor beer advertising is completely prohibited in less than 20 per cent out of 166 countries;
- the proposed regulation stipulating that the sale of alcoholic beverages shall be allowed in specialized shops or their departments would have a disproportionate effect on small stores without any significant impact on alcohol consumption;
- compared with average income, alcohol prices in Lithuania are among the highest in the European Union.
Given the aforesaid arguments LFMI calls for the rejection of the proposal.
The full position paper (in Lithuanian) is available at http://www.llri.lt/naujienos/ekonomine-politika/ekspertize-alkoholio-prekybos-ribojimai-vieni-griezciausiu-europoje/lrinka