WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 412-422

Compliance of off-premise alcohol retailers with the minimum purchase age law

1 Center for Alcohol Studies, International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand
2 Center for Alcohol Studies, International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi; Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahasarakam University, Maha Sarakham, Thailand

Correspondence Address:
Areekul Puangsuwan
Center for Alcohol Studies, International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Soi Satharanasook 6, Tiwanon Road, Nonthaburi 11000
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.207043

PMID: 28615606

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Background: In Thailand, the 2008 Alcoholic Beverages Control Act set the minimum purchase age (MPA) at 20 years old in order to limit new drinkers as part of the overall alcohol control effort. This study aims to assess the compliance of off-premise alcohol retailers with MPA restrictions and to identify factors affecting sales to adolescents. Methods: A decoy protocol was used to quantify compliance of 417 alcohol retailers from three categories, namely grocers, modern minimarts and department stores. Multi-stage sampling was applied to obtain the samples in four provinces: Bangkok, Nakorn Sawan, Songkhla and Surin. Each alcohol retailer was visited twice by 17–19 year-old male and female adolescents who tried to buy alcohol. Information collected from focus groups and in-depth interviews with vendors and management officers were analysed for the qualitative methodology. Results: Of all 834 buying attempts undertaken by the underage adolescent, 98.7% were successful in buying alcohol. Only 0.9% were asked for age and 0.1% were requested to show an ID card. Age and ID verifications were statistically significant to buying success as well as province, while number of vendors, gender and age of vendors and buyers, type of outlet, law cautions and advertisement signs in the outlet demonstrated no significant association. Conclusions: The results showed that vendors fail to comply with the law despite the fact that they know the law. Enforcement needs to be strengthened to effectively limit new drinkers.

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