The World Health Organisation has warned the new Danish government that it should take steps to reduce the amount of alcohol being consumed by teenagers.
Among its recommendations is an increase in the legal drinking age and a hike in prices. At present, the legal age at which beer and wine can be purchased is 16.
The WHO study looked in detail at the drinking habits of nations across Europe. It found that Danes tend to start consuming alcohol at an earlier age than most other countries and that young people are drinking around twice the amount of many of their European counterparts.
Although harder alcohol – with a content above 16.5 percent – can only be sold to people over the age of 18, the WHO is calling on the Social Democrats to make 18 the legal age for all alcohol purchases. The body would also like to see more duty added to spirits, wine and beer.
The WHO has linked excessive consumption of alcohol to accidents and a high level of disease. The government’s Social Liberals have said they agree with the report and that they would double the amount of duty as part of their election manifesto. Manu Sareen, Social Lib MP, told Berlingske newspaper, “Taxes and a higher age limit are some of the levers one must use to get young people to drink less.”
However, the Social People’s Party said that while it supports the pushing up of the age limit, raising duties would do little more than encourage people to take their money across the border to purchase cheaper booze.