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DENMARK: More than one-third of shops sold illegally to minors


Kontorchef, Sundhed, Stine Pedersen
Stine Pedersen, Head of Office at the Safety Technology Authority

04.07.2024 - The Danish Safety Technology Authority used young mystery shoppers for the first time on July 1 as part of its supervision of age control in physical stores. 34 percent of shops selling alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco products violated age restrictions.


Start of July marked the launch of the new two-year trial period, during which the Safety Technology Authority can use young mystery shoppers to supervise age control in physical stores.


The results from the first day with the young mystery shoppers are in. It turns out that more than one-third of the shops selling alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco products violated the age restrictions.


Previously, the Safety Technology Authority had to be present at the exact moment a shop made an illegal sale of alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco to a minor. With the new powers, it has become significantly easier to check whether shops remember to adhere to age restrictions.


"Yesterday, age restrictions were violated in 17 out of our 50 inspections of age control in physical stores. This is already more violations than we found in our more than 2,000 inspections over the last four years. This shows that there is a need for this more effective control," explains Stine Pedersen, Head of Office at the Safety Technology Authority.


The trial with young mystery shoppers is one of 30 initiatives in the government's prevention plan. The goal of the prevention plan is to reduce the consumption of alcohol, nicotine, and tobacco products among children and young people in the long term.


Before the new scheme with young mystery shoppers, the Safety Technology Authority informed the industry about the new measures. Additionally, the Authority communicated extensively about the new measures in the media from early morning. However, this did not change the fact that many shops still forgot to check ID with the young mystery shoppers.


"Our intention with the new scheme is not just to hand out fines. On the contrary, we hope that the percentage of violations will decrease over time. Therefore, we will continue to engage in dialogue with the industry about the issue. But we will also, of course, continue to supervise age control," emphasizes Stine Pedersen.


It is always the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that sales outlets comply with the applicable age restrictions for the sale of alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco.


Number of inspections carried out in physical stores on July 1, 2024

On Monday, July 1, the Safety Technology Authority, together with the young mystery shoppers, carried out 50 inspections of age control in physical stores selling alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco.

  • In 17 of the inspections, age restrictions were violated.

  • In 33 of the inspections, age restrictions were complied with.


Current age restrictions for alcohol, nicotine, and tobacco

  • Alcohol with more than 1.2 percent and up to 16.5 percent: Over 16 years old

  • Alcohol with more than 16.5 percent: Over 18 years old

  • Nicotine products: Over 18 years old

  • Tobacco products: Over 18 years old


Fines for violations of age restrictions

  • For illegal sales of alcohol to a minor, the first-time fine recommendation for business owners is 10,000 DKK.

  • For illegal sales of tobacco, tobacco substitutes, e-cigarettes, or herbal smoking products to a minor, the first-time fine recommendation for business owners is 25,000 DKK.


 
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