As the Lithuanian Parliament was setting to adopt amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control, LFMI disseminated a press release, stating that the Parliament will fail to solve the problems of immoderate consumption of alcoholic beverages. As the Institute argued, “hardened” consumers would find ways to dodge the new restrictions, while occasional consumers would be coerced to adjust to limited opportunities.
Although the Parliament’s intention to reduce the number of drunken drivers on the Lithuanian roads was welcome, the tools envisaged were dubious, having negligible effectiveness.
The draft law on alcohol control set forth a prohibition of trade in alcohol in gas stations. Trade in alcoholic beverages is a profitable share of business in gas stations, therefore, LFMI contended, after instituting this prohibition, gas stations will be forced into shortening their working time or even firing some workers.
Other restrictions laid down in the draft law encompassed a prohibition to keep open bottles of alcoholic beverages inside cars (vehicles), restrictions of time allowed to trade in alcohol in stores and a prohibition to consume alcoholic beverages in higher education establishments and for persons under the age of 18. According to LFMI, such restrictions were illogical and would hardly affect the most problematic groups of society, meanwhile posing difficulties in obtaining, selling and consuming alcohol products.
The Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control that came into force from the beginning of 2009.