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Stricter regulations to tackle alcohol use among minors
Federal health minister Maggie De Block is introducing stricter rules concerning alcohol use among minors aged 16 to 18. Currently, under-18s are restricted to the consumption of beer and wine. It is illegal for them to drink, buy or be sold spirits.
New regulations concern TV and radio ads for alcoholic drinks, which must now be approved beforehand by the Jury for Ethical Practices concerning Advertisement. De Block has also increased the number of inspections of vending machines containing alcoholic drinks to ensure they have a properly working “age lock”, which can only be opened by inserting an identity card.
Each hospital will include a team of staff members who will be trained to quickly diagnose and treat alcohol abuse. Campaigns will be launched to make more women aware of the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
There are also discussions with sellers and distributors regarding voluntary labelling of alcohol products with a reference to the minimum age. Twelve extra inspectors have been hired to monitor compliance with rules concerning the sale of alcohol to minors.
The new measures are in addition to others that make up part of the alcohol plan, which the federal and community ministers are still negotiating. De Block is, in the meantime, carrying out changes to regulations that fall within her competence.