Danish teenagers have long had a reputation for being the most drinkers in Europe. Transitional rituals such as being slaughtered on 1 May, on school trips to Prague and at Roskilde Festival are part of most normal Danish upbringing.
And the law and big business make it easier than ever to get drunk. Over 16s are legally licensed to buy alcohol in stores, provided they do not have a content of over 16.5 percent. Manufacturers produce cynical beverages with a content just below the margin, aimed solely at the age group.
But now the National Board of Health has had enough. Science suggests that under 18s should not drink alcohol, it justifies. It is detrimental to the health of young people – both now and in the future – and the cause of escalating violence and even death.
At present, drinking is the norm among the age group: 74 percent of children in Denmark aged 15-16 have drunk alcohol within the last 30 days, against a European average of 37 percent.
Health Authority: It affects brain power
The National Board of Health is therefore issuing new guidelines for under-18s of alcohol consumption – following recent calls from Coop to stop selling under-18s, it could prove to be the last incentive for the government to take action.
Health Minister Magnus Heunicke is already on the same hymn sheet as the health authority and agrees that it is the right time to update the 2010 guidelines.
“If young people under the age of 18 have a regular consumption of alcohol, it can affect their brains into adulthood, so they have a poorer memory, impaired learning ability and poorer impulse control,” he explained to DR.
“Even with relatively low levels of alcohol, we can see a negative effect on young people’s brains. With 20 units a month, the consequences become clear. ”
READ MORE: Danish supermarket chain wants a new age limit for the sale of alcohol
Alcohol & Society: Change is long overdue
Therefore, there are plans to radically change the teenage drinking culture in Denmark, and Ida Fabricius Bruun, the leader of the interest organization Alcohol & Society, believes that it is long overdue.
“The professional recommendation can be a lever to postpone the age they try alcohol for the first time, reduce consumption and ensure that future generations experience fewer accidents and fewer alcohol-related injuries,” she said.
“But of course it requires that the parents know the recommendations and that the legislation is followed. It should not be possible for young people to buy alcohol in the shops. ”
Right-wing parties: Education better than legislation
Denmark is one of only five European countries where people over the age of 16 can buy alcohol in stores. In most countries, the limit is 18; in Finland it is 20.
According to an Epinion poll from 2021 on behalf of the Danish Cancer Society, the population is in favor of raising the limit to 18. And it is believed that a parliamentary majority is also in favor of raising the limit.
Nevertheless, the right-wing parties Nye Borgerlige and Dansk Folkeparti doubt that a change in legislation will stop teenagers from drinking, and argue that more education will have a greater effect.
The left-wing party SF, which remains unresolved, would like the limit of 16.5 percent to be lowered to 6 percent.
The National Board of Health: Time to equalize boundaries for men and women
In related news, the National Board of Health also intends to revise the limits for adults, and for the first time, it proposes that men should not be allowed to drink more alcohol units than women.
It recommends a maximum of ten units per week and no more than four in a session. Previously, it recommended a limit of seven units for women and 14 for men.
The risk of dying from alcohol-related diseases is roughly the same for both sexes, the Danish Health and Medicines Authority states.
Alcohol consumption causes premature deaths for approximately 3,000 people a year in Denmark.
Source: The Nordic Page