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Alcohol Law In Italy

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Alcohol law in Italy is modeled to ensure the transparency in manufacturing, selling, buying, and using liquor. Drinking wine during meals has become a traditional ritual in Italy and this custom is mostly passed to younger generation by the elders in the family.  The presence of a wine glass on the dinner table actually helps to alter the attitude of most Italian adults towards alcohol. Most of the Italian youth consider wine as a mere beverage rather than a socializing drink or mind altering nectar. As a result of this familiar attitude the Italian alcohol laws are relaxed and very considerate towards minors.


 


Legal Drinking Age
The alcohol law in Italy does not specify any minimum age for consumption of alcohol or other alcohol based beverages. But like many European nations, the minimum age set for purchase of alcohol is 16 years. According to Article 689 of the Italian Penal Code selling alcoholic beverages to minors under the age of 16 is a severe criminal offense.  A person must be atleast 16 to buy himself or herself a drink from authorized alcohol selling establishments. Also, such people should be served drink with 10% alcohol in it. A person is eligible to buy stronger alcoholic drinks once he or she turns 18. The alcohol law in Italy also sets provisions for 14 and 15 year olds and allows them to enjoy their drinks in restaurants or other public establishments under the supervision of their parents or legal guardian.  But the alcohol laws are bit stricter at the state of South Tyrol which shares its borders with Austria in North.  The minimum age for buying and consuming alcohol is set to be 16.  In South Tyrol, harsh punishments like hefty fines, and prison terms are handed out to a person found guilty of serving alcohol to people under 16.


 


Enforcement
The alcohol law in Italy is lightly enforced because there are not many establishments which demand the age proof while buying alcohol. Beer and Wine are normally offered in many bars, cafés, restaurants, pizzerias and other casual dining areas. Also, Italy does not follow any stricter laws for drunk driving and public drunkenness.


 


Demand for Stricter Laws
In 2001, the Italian Alcohol law was amended to control the usage of alcohol in media advertising. New measures were adopted to curb issues like treatment of alcoholism, and it was suggested that educational and health programs should give more importance to prevent the misuse of alcohol. The alcohol consumption in certain working environments was strongly prohibited and all the workers were subjected to rigorous testing. The legal BAC limit for motorcyclists and drivers were further lowered. Also, a new establishment to keep checks on Alcohol Related Problems was created.


 


Over the years Italian Government has emphasized on educating youth about: consumption and handling alcoholic drinks, prevention of alcoholic abuse, and medical treatments to handle the alcohol abuse. The above factors combined with relaxed alcohol law in Italy and their cultural heritage has saw a very significant achievement in understanding the responsible use of alcohol throughout the country. All these factors have aided to elevate Italy into the ranks of countries with lowest rates of alcoholism throughout Europe and perhaps World. 


 


Image Courtesy: flickr.com

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