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News - 14 July 2008
France to outlaw drinking near schools
France will ban the sale of alcohol to minors and drinking in public near schools as part of a broad crackdown on binge drinking among youths, the health minister said in an interview in Sunday's Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said that a recent study showed an over-all decline in alcohol consumption among youths but the frequency of drunkenness was increasing. She said the number of under-25s hospitalised because of excessive drunkenness had doubled between 2004 and 2007.
"Almost half of youths said they had had five glasses of alcohol on a single night on at least one occasion in the previous 30 days, which is the definition of binge drinking," according to the interview with Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
She said she was working on a new bill that would also ban promotions known as "open bar" which allow customers to drink as much as they want to for a fixed price.
"We are also going to ban open bars ... which are a classic at student parties and which encourage binge drinking," Bachelot said.
"Drinking alcohol in public places close to schools will also be forbidden," she said.
She told the newspaper that at present there was a grey area surrounding sales of alcoholic drinks to teenagers aged 16 to 18, with different rules depending on the kind of alcohol and whether the sales point was a bar, a club or a supermarket.
She said her bill would unambiguously ban any sale of alcohol to under-18s anywhere in France.
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