NordAN supports alcohol policy package in Lithuania

NordAN sent today a support letter to the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania to encourage members of the Parliament of Lithuania to vote for these measures and set public health interests above economic ones.

The proposals prepared by the Health Care Ministry include following measures:
– increase legal age for buying, holding and consuming alcoholic beverages to the age of 20 (instead of 18);
– prohibit use of persons under the age of 20 in alcohol promotion campaigns;
– institute a full ban on alcohol advertising from 2018 January 1st.
– impose additional trade hour limitations on alcohol retail outlets: from 8pm to 10 am on Monday-Saturday, from 3 pm to 10 am on Sundays. Currently the ban is between 10pm and 8am. The time limitations will cover mixed catering establishments, which also sell alcohol for off-site consumption. Only establishments with license for on-site consumption will be exempt;
– delegate additional powers to municipalities in decisions for restricting alcohol sale time and designate areas;
– prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages during large public events (such like festivals);
– earmark additional taxes from alcohol, tobacco and gambling as contributions to the National public health fund (to be used for funding alcohol prevention and research);
– additional suggestions regarding fines, administrative liability, etc.

The adoption of these amendments will follow the usual procedure of parliamentary discussions and then voting in the Parliament. Reducing alcohol consumption is one of the priorities and key elements of the current Government, elected last year.

“Alcohol related problems require a long-term, consistent and evidence based alcohol control policy. With your proposed measures you have addressed all the relevant areas of alcohol policies. Limiting alcohol availability, banning alcohol advertising and raising alcohol taxes have all strongest evidence base in reducing per capita consumption and harm that is related to that. Nordic countries have a longstanding positive experience in enforcing these measures that have been the foundation to a public health oriented policy and we can recommend it to any country that wants to tackle this harm,” states NordAN support letter.

“As you know from your experience public health goes against various financial interests. You will experience pressure from different economic operators who have clear vested interests in this. It is crucial to give presedence to the health, well-being and security of your children, young people, families and every Lithuanian who is influenced by alcohol today. In order to reduce alcohol related harms, it requires bold and decisive action. We urge you to implement these planned measures and keep on working with evidence based alcohol policies,” concludes the letter.

Find the full NordAN SUPPORT LETTER