Prohibition of the sale of alcohol to minors, an encouragement to moderation?

On 10 March 2009, the National Assembly passed new measures on the prevention of alcohol consumption among minors. Prohibition of the sale of alcohol to children under 18 and open bars, limiting sales to petrol stations, all of which can contribute to the reduction of excessive alcoholism among young people and the prevention of alcoholism, alcoholism. However, the simultaneous authorization of advertising for alcohol on the Internet raises questions.

The end of the open bars, an extra step towards the decrease of binge drinking?

"Drinking a little bit is nice," the song said. But for young people, as for adults, it can also and above all be dangerous: risky behaviors, ethical comas, trauma, shift towards alcoholism ... If the consumption of alcohol has been a cultural phenomenon for centuries In the United States, it is also a major public health problem. Moreover, in recent years a new and worrying phenomenon has emerged, the binge drinking, massive and rapid consumption of alcohol increasingly prized by minors. The limitation of this phenomenon is one of the motivations of the work of the deputies in the framework of the parliamentary vote of the law Hospital, Patients, Health and territories.

The limitation of the distribution of alcohol in petrol stations, advanced or receding?

In order to avoid an increasingly early alcohol consumption and a habit to drink to get drunk among younger people more and more frequent, the new law presented by the Minister of Health Roselyne Bachelot prohibits any sale of Alcoholic beverages to young people under the age of 18, compared with 16 at present. This ban is expected to reduce the overall consumption of alcohol among younger people, while "the number of hospitalizations for drunkenness of minors under fifteen years increased by 55% between 2004 and 2007," according to the Socialist deputy Jean Mallot to the Assembly. It is still difficult to imagine traders and barmen systematically checking the date of birth of young people with each purchase of alcohol, but the threat of financial penalties should allow a correct application of this measure
< Br>
Advertisement for alcohol on the net, mess in perspective?

It should be noted that the bill prohibits the sale and not the consumption of alcohol. It is therefore not a complete prohibition which would probably have encouraged adolescents to transgress, as can be seen for decades with cannabis ...

The National Assembly passed an amendment prohibiting "to offer alcoholic beverages free of charge for promotional purposes or to sell alcoholic beverages on an open-bars basis". The open bars are an opportunity for young people to ingest large quantities of alcohol and raise the suspicion of a willingness on the part of producers to make young people dependent. This prohibition would reinforce the fight against binge drinking, especially since the coupled ban on sale to minors will prevent a priori avoid moving the problem (buying and massive ingestion of alcohol before going out for example). < Code>

On the other hand, "tastings for sale are not concerned, as are fairs and festivals in which alcoholic drinks can be enjoyed free of charge or against a lump sum", to the great relief of wine-growers who, Have been lobbying in recent weeks with MPs from major producing regions, both left and right.

Although it does not directly concern minors, the sale of alcohol at petrol stations is probably a significant factor in road accidents. But there are no more dramas involving young people drinking and driving, with passengers sometimes minor. Finally, the prohibition on the sale of alcohol at service stations was only increased (between 18 and 8 am, compared with 22 and 6 hours at present), in order to be total in the initial text of the draft law. To "take account of local specificities and the maintenance of small businesses", according to Roselyne Bachelot, Minister of Health. The latter also states that "the sale of refrigerated alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited as it encourages immediate consumption".

Despite this impediment to the consumption of fresh beer while driving, it is difficult to forget that alcoholism is still the leading cause of death at the wheel, which makes it quite incongruous to maintain a partial sale of alcohol at the edge of the road. Road, even to protect the shops of fuel ...

The measures listed above, even if they are not accompanied by necessary decisions in favor of a better education and prevention policy, should make it possible to reduce the consumption of alcohol by minors ... At least c Is what one could think until the vote in this same law of the authorization of advertising for alcohol on the internet! Admittedly, this measure fills a legal vacuum since the law Evin of 1991, law restricting advertising for alcohol and written at a time when the Internet was still only a scientific fantasy. Moreover, the text stipulates that such commercial announcements will not be allowed on sites intended for youth, sports, physical activity and in pop-ups (these windows that open inadvertently on the web ).

But this authorization, which delights winegrowers, still asks questions: what is a site "intended for youth"? A lot of college students spend several hours a day on the Internet, how can we imagine that they only go to youth or sports sites? Do they not inform themselves elsewhere, do they not play online, do not they chat from general portals, do they not consult music or people sites, video hosting platforms? So how can young people be told to buy "banned alcohol" and at the same time expose them to repeated messages meaning "buy alcohol"? The original text provided for authorization to advertise on "producer sites, distributors and professional organizations", was it not much more logical and reasonable?

Subject to change in the Senate and despite the concomitant absence of preventive education measures (strengthening of school medicine, for example), this law still hopes to raise awareness among young people of the dangers of alcohol and a decrease Of their consumption, even drunkenness ...

- Website of the National Assembly, meetings of Monday 5 and 9 March 2009 - Roselyne Bachelot at the National Assembly on 10 March 2009, © WITT / SIPA