Denmark: Massive voter support for an 18-year age limit
13.09.2023 - Sixty-three per cent of Danes believe that the age limit for alcohol sales should be raised to 18 years. A new Voxmeter poll indicates this and simultaneously establishes that there's now significant support from voters across all political parties.
In Denmark, unlike most of Europe, teenagers between 16 and 17 years old can purchase beer, alcoholic soft drinks, and other alcoholic beverages under 16.5% in supermarkets and kiosks.
This should end, according to a vast majority of Danes. In a new survey conducted by Voxmeter on behalf of Blue Cross Denmark, 63 per cent of Danes responded that it's a good idea to raise the age limit for selling all alcohol to 18 years.
The poll shows widespread support across all political party voters, which delights Morten Skov Mogensen, the Secretary-General of Blue Cross Denmark. The organisation assists people with alcohol and drug abuse issues and offers therapy to children and teenagers who have grown up in homes with substance abuse problems.
"There's overwhelming support from both sides of the Parliament when you ask the voters. We obviously hope the parties will take this into account and listen. Danes are ready to take the first step towards a healthier alcohol culture," says Morten Skov Mogensen.
The highest voter support in the poll is seen among the Danish People's Party, the Social Liberal Party, the Conservatives, and the Social Democrats, with 76 per cent, 74 per cent, 69 per cent, and 65 per cent, respectively. The lowest support is found among the Danish Democrats and the Liberal Alliance, with 56 and 57 per cent, respectively.
The new poll shows an overall rising voter support among the parties. Compared to a similar survey conducted in Spring 2022, for example, only 28 per cent of Liberal Alliance's voters then supported an 18-year age limit for alcohol sales.
Young People Drinking Alcohol Earlier
Support for an 18-year age limit for alcohol sales comes after a general debate about Danish alcohol culture, particularly with the start of studies at the country's high schools and universities, where the Health Authority again this year recommends an alcohol-free start to studies.
A new school children survey from the National Institute of Public Health shows that alcohol also plays a larger role in elementary schools. The percentage of 15-year-olds who drink alcohol has once again risen. Twenty-two per cent of the girls surveyed in 9th grade state that they drink at least once a week. In 2014, this was only 12 per cent. Meanwhile, the proportion for boys over the same period has increased from 21 to 29 per cent.
"Engaging with parents and educational institutions is crucial in this context and cannot replace a higher age limit. However, an 18-year limit might help alleviate the pressure for 16-year-olds to drink alcohol," says Morten Skov Mogensen from Blue Cross Denmark.
The Health Authority recommends that young people under 18 do not drink alcohol.
Facts about the poll
The poll was conducted by the research institute Voxmeter, based on interviews with 1,000 people, representing a cross-section of the population. The data was collected from August 29 to September 6, 2023. In the survey, respondents were asked: "Do you believe the limit for purchasing all types of alcohol should be raised to 18 years? In Denmark, young people who are 16 years old can purchase products like beer and wine. Alcohol over 16.5% can only be purchased if you are 18 or older."