Thailand is issuing a new restriction on alcohol consumption by banning sales of alcohol near the perimeter of schools or other educational institutions. The effort is an attempt to curb drinking habits of young people in the southeast Asian country that have reportedly been on the rise.
The new ban will prohibit the sales of alcoholic drinks within 300 meter, or about 984 feet, of any school and applies to grocery stores and convenience stores, but not wholesale facilities, the Bangkok Post reported. The restriction was made after a meeting of the National Alcohol Drinks Policy Board, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yuthavong. A few other exceptions will also be made where schools are located near hotels or restaurants that are located in specially designated entertainment zones, like capital city Bangkok’s Ratchada, Patpong and RCA areas.
The ban will also be reinforced by additional educational measures about the risks associated with drinking. “To make the rule more effective, educational institutions will be asked to instill in students conscience about the dangers of drinking,” Thailand’s public health minister Rajata Rajatanavin said after the ban was announced, adding that statistics show sales of alcoholic drinks at several establishments surrounding schools have more than doubled.
Thailand ranks as one of the countries most at risk for an alcohol-related death or accident, according to statistics compiled by the World Health Organization. The study found that consumption patterns of the country scored the highest score on a scale of risk of years of life lost.
The Thai government has been combatting youth drinking for years. In 2008, the Thai government raised the national drinking age from 18 to 20, the Thai Law Forum reported.
Some concerns have been raised by business owners, where alcohol sales are a significant portion of the revenue stream. The announcement, which still seeking approval from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, will take effect 30 days after its final approval, allowing shop owners and other sellers to adjust. “A panel will also be set up to steadily follow up on the effectiveness of the rule and evaluate impacts on sellers,” Rajatanavin also said.