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Denmark to restrict alcohol sales to minors

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark will restrict alcohol sales to minors and increase taxes on nicotine products to combat a worrying rise in consumption, the health ministry said Tuesday.

"Children and the young are starting to drink too early, and they drink too much," Health Minister Sophie Lohde said at a press conference.

She said youths were also consuming more "snus", a sachet placed under the upper lip containing synthetic nicotine and often flavoured to appeal to younger consumers.

In response, sales of drinks with more than six percent alcohol will be banned to those aged 16 to 18, who until now could buy drinks containing up to 16.5 percent alcohol.

At the same time, taxes on snus will be doubled, raising the average price of a packet by 12 kroner (1.6 euros), making their price equal to a pack of cigarettes.

It will also be forbidden for smoking substitution products to offer "enticing aromas and smells," the ministry said.

According to national health authorities, 22 percent of girls and 27 percent of boys are weekly drinkers by the age of 15.

A 2019 study by ESPAD (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs) estimated that 40 percent of 15-to-16-year-old Danes had got drunk in the previous 30 days, the highest in Europe, where the average is 13 percent.