Alcoholic Drink Control Act has reduced drinking 2%
Some news we shouldn’t drink to: alcohol consumption is down 2% after 15 years of Thailand’s Alcoholic Drink Control Act. The law banned alcohol advertisements and placed limits on when and where booze can be sold.
A seminar entitled “Different Views on 15-year Enforcement of the Alcoholic Drink Control Act” was held on Sunday at Bangkok’s Asia Hotel where the success of the program was outlined.
There has been a distinct drop in the number of drinkers since the Alcoholic Drink Control Act went into effect in 2008, according to the director of the Research and Innovation Institute for Excellence at Walailak University. The percentage of Thai adults who drink alcohol was 30% in 2008 and now sits at 28%.
It might be a bad sign, but while overall drinking is down, women are drinking more than before. The number of male drinkers dropped from 52.23% in 2008 to 46.4% in 2021, a decrease of 5.9%. However, the number of female drinkers has risen by 1.7%.
Younger and elder drinking has decreased as well. The ratio of drinkers in the over-60 age group and the 15 to 19 year old age group has declined.
An opinion poll conducted in January revealed that the majority of individuals favoured the Alcoholic Drink Control Act which limits the sale of alcohol to certain places and times of the day. Additionally, the survey indicated that most respondents were in favour of alcohol advertising being prohibited.
The act bans sales of alcohol at places like petrol stations and requires the government to provide free rehabilitation to recovering alcoholics.
But loopholes and gaps in the law haven’t stopped booze from being sold to underage drinkers at small stores, bars, and pubs. Also, alcohol manufacturers can sidestep the advertising ban by sponsoring events or buying image promo ads.
On the bright side, the Alcoholic Drink Control Act has reduced the number of drunk driving road accidents, especially during the holiday season.
During New Year’s, booze-related accidents fell from 37.8% of all road accidents in 2008 to 25.6% in 2022. Likewise, the percentage of drunk-driving incidents during Songkran decreased from 35.5% of all road accidents in 2008 to 26% in 2022. The Institute director touted the act’s success.
“This proves that the enforcement of the act has reduced the consumption of alcohol and subsequent adverse impact.”
A representative for the Move Forward Party said they supported the Alcoholic Drink Control Act, though it could be amended to match a changing society. The party has supported liberalising the beer brewing business and amendments need to be made to make market competition fairer for microbreweries.
The party did endorse an easing of the advertising ban to allow a few ads as long as they don’t reach children. Surprisingly, they also called for alcohol to be allowed on Buddhist holidays.
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