Danske Regioner’s chief health officer, Ulla Astman, has issued a recommendation to raise the legal drinking age in Denmark from 16 to 18, The Copenhagen Post reports. The only restriction for 16-year-olds is that they can’t buy alcohol in bars and restaurants and they can’t buy beverages with an alcohol content of more than 16.5%.
The motivation for the suggested change is that commencing alcohol consumption at an earlier age is correlated alcoholism later in life.
The suggestion is further motivated by an appeal to make the rules surrounding age limits on alcohol consumption more straightforward. Astman also remarks that the alcohol habits of young Danes abroad is giving them a bad reputation in the rest of Europe.
It is clear that the prevalence of drinking among Danish youths is well above its Nordic neighbors – in fact, Danmark holds the record in Europe. 92% of Danish 15-16-year-olds drink alcohol, The Copenhagen Post reports citing the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs 2015. The corresponding figures for the other Nordic countries are: Iceland 35%, Norway 57%, Sweden 65% and Finland 74%, with the European average at 80%.
The same report finds that 32% of Danes in the same age group had drunk enough alcohol to be intoxicated during the last month.