China: Ban OK’d on booze sales within 300m of universities
June 18, 2015
The Alcohol Control Committee on Thursday approved a ban on alcohol sales within 300 metres of universities and vocational colleges, giving anti-booze activists 60% of what they wanted.
The panel, chaired by Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin, finalised the announcement from the Prime Minister Office’s to outlaw alcohol sales within 300 metres of higher-education institutions governed by the education law.
Activists had called on the government to ban booze within a half-kilometre of universities and vocational colleges.
However, the new rule will not apply to hotels and other service operators established legally under royal decree.
The committee’s resolution will be forwarded for approval by the National Alcohol Police Committee on July 3 and, if endorsed, will become effective 30 days after it is announced in the Royal Gazette.
The Office of the Alcohol Control Committee will work with the Excise Department to set the criteria on how to measure the 300-metre radius.
Anti-alcohol activists and academics have pushed for dry zones within 500 metres of universities. On June 3, students from 30 universities under the Youth Network against New Drinkers banner assembled near Government House urging the banishment of alcohol within a half-kilometre through amendment of the Section 27 of the 2008 Alcohol Control Act.
The Prime Minister’s Office announcement will not require amendment of promulgation of a law.
Mr Rajata said the announcement would be only one measure to reduce the accessibility of alcohol among university students and other measures are needed to discourage drinking.
Alcohol sales near universities in Bangkok remain prevalent, with 2,869 retailers operating within a 500-metre radius of 15 universities, mainly in the Bangkok metropolitan area, the Centre for Alcohol Studies found.
A recent survey showed the presence of pubs and liquor outlets near universities has increased 72% in the past five years, with more than 1,000 outlets springing up since 2000.
According to one study, currently 250,000 teens and young adults take up drinking each year.
The murder of a footballer from Rangsit University in early June after the exchange of dirty looks at a pub near the university has underlined the attempt to create booze-free zones near educational institutions.