The government on Tuesday launched a two-month public consultation on a possible ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks to those under the age of 18.
The public consultation document was released on the Health Bureau’s (SSM) website on Tuesday. The public consultation will end on 4 December. A public session will be held at the end of this month at the Areia Preta Health Centre, which is located near Areia Preta Park.
While there is a legal ban on the sale of cigarettes to those under the age of 18 in Macao, there is no legal ban on selling them alcoholic beverages.
According to the document, the government proposes that alcoholic beverages be prohibited from being sold or provided to those under the age of 18 at public venues or venues that are open to the public. The government also proposes that those under the age of 18 be prohibited from selling customers alcoholic drinks.
According to the document, the government suggests that alcoholic drinks subject to the proposed sale ban be defined as those with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of over 1.2 per cent – meaning that minors would be allowed to buy drinks with an ABV of up to 1.2 per cent.
According to the document, the government also proposes a ban on the supply, sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks at 1) medical institutions, 2) vending machines, and 3) venues specifically run for those under the age of 18, such as schools, kindergartens and crèches.
According to the documents, the government proposes that outlets should request those who want to buy alcoholic drinks to show their ID cards if they doubt whether the potential buyers are aged at least 18.
The government also proposes that a notice prohibiting the sale or provision of alcoholic drinks to those under the age of 18 must be displayed at any venues selling such beverages.
The government also proposes that advertisements on alcoholic drinks must be accompanied by the official slogan “Excessive drinking is harmful to health”, in the Chinese, Portuguese and English languages.
According to the document, the government proposes that it will not set up a licensing system issuing permits to outlets for the sale and provision of alcoholic drinks, with the aim of achieving the objective of barring minors from buying alcoholic drinks and limiting them from consuming such beverages. The document says that the establishment and maintenance of an alcohol licensing system would involve huge administrative resources.
According to the document, the government proposes that Health Bureau officials would carry out inspections at all venues where alcoholic drinks are supplied, sold or consumed, so as to check whether people there are complying with the rules. The inspectors can request those drinking alcoholic drinks to show their ID cards to confirm whether they are aged at least 18.
According to the document, the inspectors can order a temporary closure of up to 12 hours of the outlets, in order to gather evidence, identify whether people there have violated the rules, or seize evidence.
The document proposes that violators would be fined. If the violations are serious, the government would bar the outlets from selling alcoholic drinks for up to two years.
Macao’s then secretary for social affairs and culture, Alexis Tam Chon Weng, first suggested a possible ban on the sale of alcohol to minors in 2018.