Proposal to raise drinking age limit advanced by Saeima committee

The Saeima Social and Labor Affairs Committee supports the intention to raise the alcohol-purchase age limit from 18 to 20, Latvian Radio reported on October 31.

This idea was supported by a majority of the Social and Labor Committee. MP Ramona Petraviča (Latvia First) abstained.

In total, Members viewed 43 proposals. The planned changes to the Law on the Circulation of alcoholic beverages and the Law on Electronic Mass Media provide for reducing the availability of alcoholic beverages, restricting advertising and marketing, as well as additional activities in the field of informing and educating the public. 

The consumption of alcohol in Latvia is worrying and by international standards is very high. This has implications for health and the economy. Soon, Saeima deputies will have to decide whether and what more effective ways there are to limit alcohol consumption in Latvia.

During the committee meeting on Tuesday, representatives from different sectors put forward their arguments as to why one or another proposal to curb alcohol consumption should be supported or rejected.

Artjoms Uršuļskis, parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Health, said the primary goal of the changes is to reduce problems with alcohol consumption. At the same time, the Ministry is aware that the amendments included in the draft laws provide for a number of restrictions, which will affect and create costs for entrepreneurs – producers and distributors of alcoholic beverages, electronic media under the jurisdiction of Latvia, enterprises in the field of advertising and marketing, retail and wholesale places of alcoholic beverages, gambling establishments.

The alcohol and advertising industries, understandably, mostly oppose the planned restrictions, citing potential economic drawbacks.

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