BiH: CEM Exposes Alcohol Sales Law Violations
To check whether alcohol outlets adhere to the restriction on alcohol sales to minors, IOGT International member organization CEM, the Center for Youth Eduction, in Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina conducted complaince test through mystery shopping. CEM sent an undercover customer – who was a minor under adult supervision – to 10 sales outlets in Travnik. Three of these sales facilities violated the law and sold alcohol to the minor.
The staff of two sales facilities of a retail chain and one independent trading facility violated the provisions of the FBiH Internal Trade Act, which explicitly prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors.
With the help of these compliance tests, CEM showed that alcoholic beverages are easily accessible to minors, despite repeated warnings and calls on traders to respect the law and pay attention to the young people who are trying to buy alcoholic beverages in their facilities.
Follow-up to awareness raising
The week before the mystery shopping activity, CEM conducted a regular campaign to warn traders and caterers about the importance of respecting the law, in cooperation with Travnik Police Station. Traders were given information material on the content of the law, as well as signs of banning the sale of alcohol to persons under the age of 18 years.
However as can be seen through the follow-up compliance tests, selling alcohol to minors is still widespread.
Major alcohol problems
CEM stresses that the availability of alcohol for children and young people is one part of the very complex and serious social problem of exposure of children and youth to alcohol in BiH. The low prices of alcohol, insufficiently regulated advertising, and the practice of selling to minors all add to this problem.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a signatory of numerous conventions on the protection and promotion of the rights of children and youth, is obliged to actively work on the protection of child and youth health and reduce their exposure to alcohol and other harmful substances that cause negative consequences for health.
CEM works for the prevention of alcohol consumption among children and young people, through direct engagement with them. CEM also works to raise awareness of decision-makers and the general public that protecting children and young people from alcohol must be a priority for the entire society.
Since BiH has regulations regarding the sale of alcohol to minors, CEM calls on the relevant institutions to use their powers and take appropriate measures against the violators of the law.