sábado, 18 de abril de 2015

Dutch alcohol policy

Dutch alcohol policy

The government is working to combat alcohol abuse in our society.
The measures are aimed at:
- preventing young people from drinking before they turn 18;
- encouraging people over 18 to drink responsibly;
- reducing the number of people who are psychologically or physically addicted to alcohol;
- minimising the consequences of alcohol abuse, such as public antisocial behaviour, domestic violence and traffic accidents.

Important target groups are youngsters and problem drinkers. Six kinds of policy instruments are used:
1.         Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act
2.         Rules on alcohol advertising
3.         Penalties for driving while intoxicated
4.         Taxation
5. Education and prevention
6. Treatment and rehabilitation

An important principle in Dutch alcohol policy is, that only a well-balanced coherent package of measures is considered to be effective.

The first adopted alcohol policy memorandum ("Alcohol en Samenleving") dates from 1986. The most recent alcohol policy document (“Hoofdlijnenbrief alcoholbeleid”) is from 20 November 2007. It was a joined memorandum from the ministers of Health, Welfare and Sport, of Youth and Family and of the Interior. It has been debated in Dutch Parliament in December 2007.
Hoofdlijnenbrief alcoholbeleid (69,2 kB)

1. Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act

The Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act (1964) is a statutory law regulating the selling and serving of alcohol. The law is the responsibility of the minister of Health, Welfare and Sport.

According to the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act mildly alcoholic beverages as beer, wine and low alcohol content spirits are sold only in grocery and tobacco stores and licensed liquor shops. Petrol stations are not allowed selling alcoholic drinks. The sale of strong alcoholic beverages (spirits with alcohol content of 15% or more) is restricted to licensed liquor shops.
On premise alcohol selling is allowed in licensed pubs/restaurants and other licensed drinking places.

Licences are issued by the municipalities. The licensing terms are fairly strict.
Firstly the personal situation of the applicant is examined. The applicant should not have committed any serious crimes during the last five years or be a repeat offender of less serious crimes, for example, drunken driving. In addition to this, the applicant should have passed a course on management of alcohol affairs and other issues of ”responsible serving”. These requirements do not apply to the licence candidate only, but also to the person who tends the shop or the pub/restaurant. The licence-holder and the tender should be at least 21 years old.

Another important matter is the terms concerning the outlet. The minimum area of a liquor shop is 15 m2, of a pub/restaurant 35 m2. The outlet has to be a separate room or building. It is not admissible to have a liquor shop and a pub/restaurant in the same room. Liquor shops should not be in direct connection with an ordinary grocery store. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be sold in kiosks; that is, through a window.

Dutch Parliament agreed in 2012 to amend the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act. This amendment became effective January 1, 2013. The most important element is that local authorities have now more competences. Some new powers:
• To forbid exorbitant price promotions, such as happy hours in pubs/restaurants and price breakers in grocery stores and liquor shops;
•          To determine an access age to pubs/restaurants (also after a certain point in time);
•          To enforce all the rules regarding the selling of alcohol (before the enforcement was in the hands of Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority);
•          To prohibit for one to twelve weeks the sale of alcoholic drinks by grocery stores frequently violating under age drinking regulations.

Since January 1, 2014 there is one age limit of 18 years for on and for off premise purchasing of both mildly and strong alcoholic beverages. 18 is the most common alcohol purchasing age in the European Region (overview here).
Public possession of alcohol is now a punishable offence for children under 18. Young people age 12 to 18 caught drinking or possessing alcohol on the road, in parks, festivals, campingsites, pubs and restaurants can be penalized. The fine is € 45 for youngsters under 16 and € 90 for youngsters age 16 and 17. An alternative sanction (transferral to a HALT-programme) is also possible.

This 18+-amendment was introduced by 4 MP's in a private members' bill.

Not listed in the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act
In the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act there are no national regulations as to pub/restaurant closing hours. This is completely the competence of the municipalities.

There are in the Alcohol Licensing and Caterig Act also no provisions concerning the limitation of production, importation or exportation of alcoholic beverages. That is not to say that there is nothing settled at this point. There are rules regarding certain ingredients that may not (or limited) be used. There is also a ban on spirits with an alcohol content above 81%. Producers and traders need a licence because of excise duties.

Labels for alcohol content and allergens are required (harmonized European Union regulations). As of December 13, 2014 these obligations are part of the new European labelling regulation (1169/2011). In this EU legislation there is an exemptions for alcoholic drinks: for these products it is not obliged to mention the ingredients and the energy value. The Commission will submit in 2015 a new proposal for this exemption.
In the Netherlands labels with general or specific health warnings are not required. Recently Dutch drinks industry has promised junior health minister Martin van Rijn to include as of 2016 a warning for pregnant women on ‘as many bottles as possible’.
2. Rules on advertising

In the Netherlands three different regulations exists that specifically refer to alcohol advertising.
1.         The Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act
2.         The Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages
3.         The Media Act 2008

The Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act contains an article that gives the minister of Health, Welfare and Sport the competence to regulate alcohol advertising in an order in council. But until now there is no such regulation in force.

Advertising of alcoholic beverages is in the Netherlands mainly controlled by self regulation of the drinks industry. Since 1990 an Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages is in effect. In 2000 this code has been amended. Since then there is a voluntary advertising ban on all media if 25% of the audience (viewers, listeners, readers or visitors) is under 18 years. Since a 2008 amendment there is an obligatory slogan (as of spring 2014: "No 18, no alcohol"). In the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages the rules of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive are incorporated.

As of 2009 the Netherlands has a legal ban on alcohol advertisements on television and radio from 6 am to 9 pm. Broadcasters are not allowed to transmit during these hours commercials for all alcoholic beverages. This "time lock" is included in the Media Act 2008. The rules are enforced by the Dutch Media Authority. From recent STAP-research it now appears that this “time lock” reduced advertising exposure to the youngest viewers while increasing exposure for the high-risk teenage population. This is because the alcohol producers, after the introduction of the "time lock", have trebled the number of TV-advertisements after 9 p.m.

In 2002 the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport commissioned the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP to monitor the advertising and marketing practices of the drinks industry in the Netherlands. In 2013 the minister stopped the grant for these monitoring activities.

3. Penalties for driving while intoxicated

Road and traffic safety is the responsibility of the minister of Infrastructure and Environment.

In the Netherlands, the legal limit for drivers is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.5 pro mille. Novice drivers (people who received their driving license less than five years ago) are not allowed to have a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.2 pro mille. This blood alcohol level also applies to people below the age of 24. In the Netherlands random testing is allowed.
The Netherlands has three rehabilitation courses for road users committed drink-driving offences: EMA (Educational Measure Alcohol and Traffic), LEMA (Lighter version of EMA) and EMG (Educational Measure Behaviour and Traffic) .

1.         EMA (Educational Measure Alcohol and Traffic) is a three-day course given to people who participated in traffic with a BAC between 1.3 pro mille and 1.8 pro mille.

2.         LEMA (Light Educational Measure Alcohol and Traffic) consists of two half-days of 3.5 hours each. LEMA is intended for novice drivers with a BAC between 0.5 pro mille and 0.8 pro mille.

3.         EMG (Educational Measure Behaviour and Traffic) is meant for drivers who repeatedly showed undesirable driving behaviour in the course of one drive. Also in the case of one single major speeding offence, a driver can be referred to EMG.

As of December 2011 the Netherlands started an alcohol interlock program for experienced drivers with a BAC between 1.3 pro mille and 1.8 pro mille and for novice drivers with a BAC between 1.0 promille and 1.8 pro mille. The program is discontinued (no new cases) due to legal problems.

4. Taxation

Taxation is the responsibility of the minister of Finance.

Excise duties are levied on all alcoholic beverages. Like Value Added Tax, excise duties are included in the price the consumer pays. The tax is remitted to the Tax Administration by the manufacturers in the Netherlands, by traders and also by importers of excisable goods (for example, importers of American brandy).

For beer, the excise duty is progressive and is levied according to categories expressed in degrees Plato. The excise duties on wine are different between sparkling and non-sparkling (still wines) and are progressive in relation to ranges of alcohol content by volume. There is a special excise duty for products that are in between (for example port, sherry and vermouth).
For spirits, the excise duty is levied as a set amount per hectolitre of pure alcohol.

In September 2013 Cabinet agreed on a rise in almost all taxes on alcohol as of 2014 (+5,75%).

Now the excise duty per glass is:
Glass of pilsner beer (250 cc) 9,5 eurocent
Glass of still wine (100 cc)    8,8 eurocent
Glass of gin (35 cc)    20,6 eurocent

5. Education and prevention

Massmedia campaigns

In 1986 a large scale national alcohol education project was initiated by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The campaign included mass media activities, mainly television and radio commercials, and regional activities. In the early years the campaign targeted at the general public, later at youngsters and in recent years at parents. Local prevention workers were involved. At the start the campaign was coordinated by the Ministry, later on by the Netherlands Institute for Health Promotion, since 2008 by the Trimbos Institute. Part of the campaign was a telephone information and helpline. The slogan of all activities (“DRANK maakt meer kapot dan je lief is”) was very well known and excepted by the general public. In 2012 this campaign stopped after 25 years.

Sem comentários: