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08/06/2017

Lithuanian parliament adopts measures to restrict alcohol consumption

The Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania (Seimas) on 1st of June adopted amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control which raise the minimum allowed drinking age, restricts alcohol selling hours and bans the advertising of alcoholic beverages.

As of 2018, the minimum allowed drinking age will be raised from the current 18 to 20, alcohol selling hours will be limited from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

As of next year, a total ban on alcohol advertising will come into effect. However, lawmakers agreed that alcohol beverages' labelling and brand names on sales equipment and supplies (umbrellas, mugs, ashtrays, etc.) will not be considered advertising. As of 2020, non-stationary alcohol sales outlets will no longer be allowed. A total of 101 lawmakers voted in favour of the measures aimed at restricting alcohol consumption, with 10 against, and 10 MPs abstained.

The Seimas rejected some additional measures proposed earlier, such as requiring individuals in public to transport and store alcoholic beverages in non-transparent packaging. The lawmakers also rejected special alcohol consumption zones, which persons under 20 would not be allowed to enter during public events.

In recent years, Lithuanian authorities have been considering measures aimed at restricting access of alcohol, due to concerns over alcohol abuse and related in the Lithuania. Gauden Galea, a senior World Health Organization official, who has visited Lithuania in May, 2017 announced that average Lithuanian over the age of 15 consumed the equivalent of 18,2 litres of pure alcohol per person last year, making Lithuanians the world's "top" drinkers.