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01/11/2006

Spain – Government's Legislative proposal to prevent alcohol consumption among minors

On 25 September, the Spanish Ministry of Health published a Draft Act on Health Measures for the Protection of Health and the Prevention of alcohol consumption by Minors. Although limited to minors, the draft represents a significant breakthrough for alcohol policy in Spain, because it establishes a common legal framework for the whole Country, filling and bridging gaps and discrepancies among regional policies.

Since the proposal from the Government focuses on the protection of the health of minors, it will have a better chance of being passed in Parliament because there exists a general consensus that priority should be given to the protection of the most vulnerable groups, i.e. adolescents and children.

Worth noticing are the restrictions on alcohol marketing. The Proposal establishes the minimum purchase age at 18 and, for the first time ever, retail sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises will require a license. In addition, the sale of alcohol will be prohibited at night and in mobile units.

Further restrictions on alcohol advertising are introduced: TV and radio advertising for alcoholic beverages will not be allowed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.; No alcohol adverts will be permitted on the covers of magazines, and; Alcohol ads will not be allowed in bus-shelters or billboards placed less than 500 meters away from schools. Finally, sponsorship by the alcohol industry of events aimed at minors will also be banned.