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France: new drinks measures proposed

The French government has proposed a series of measures aimed at cracking down on youth drinking.

These meaures, proposed by Minister of Health Roselyne Bachelot, include the prevention of sales of alcohol to under 18s, the removal of any alcoholic drinks in petrol service stations, and the end of ‘open bars’ – which charge entry but serve free drinks – for students.

There is also discussion about lowering the alcohol driving limit to 0.2g/l from the current 0.3 g/l for young drivers.

Until now, the sale of alcohol to 16-year-olds in France has been allowable for certain types of alcohol, in certain types of outlets. This will now be forbidden to any minor.

Many of the measures, such as ending open bars, have been welcomed, although others are not so popular.

The attempt to reduce the 4,600 road fatalities per year by banning alcohol sales in petrol stations has not gone down well with proprietors, for whom alcohol represents two thirds of their non-fuel turnover.

The Ministry of Health said the measures would be adopted in January 2009.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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