By Annette Chrsostomou
Alcohol is easily accessible to minors and more training and stricter laws are needed to combat this, the Cyprus Anti-Drug Council (CAC) said on Tuesday.
“We want people to be trained before they are given a license to sell alcohol,” the association’s Leda Christodoulou said. “They need to know what to do when faced with a minor asking for alcohol.”
After an initiative was launched by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) in collaboration with the British High Commission this summer an action plan was agreed upon and some professionals in Ayia Napa and Paphos received training.
However, those selling alcohol in other areas have not been included in this scheme.
The CAC is also in favour of introducing new legislation. They have already suggested the legal drinking age be changed from 17 to 18. This legislation has already been accepted by the Ministry of Interior. Christodoulou said that their organisation is currently making amendments to the draft in cooperation with the legal services, a process which is expected to be completed this year. The association hopes the House will vote on it early next year.
These demands are supported by the results of research conducted by the University of Cyprus in March. Ninety eight undergraduate university students from Nicosia and Limassol who looked young posed as underage mystery shoppers.
They attempted to buy alcohol in 200 licensed premises including bars, kiosks, restaurants, supermarkets and nightclubs. In the process, a student was asked to show ID as proof of age only once in Nicosia, and three times in Limassol.
During further research, the licensees said the reasons they did not ask for ID were economic benefits, a low sense of responsibility, and the failures of other establishments to do so.