Why should I comply? Sellers’ accounts for (non-)compliance with legal age limits for alcohol sales


Gosselt, Jordy F. and Hoof, Joris J. van and Jong, Menno D.T. de (2012) Why should I comply? Sellers’ accounts for (non-)compliance with legal age limits for alcohol sales. Substance abuse treatment, prevention and policy, 7 (5). 1 - 12. ISSN 1747-597X

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Availability is an important predictor of early and excessive alcohol consumption by adolescents. Many countries have implemented age limits to prevent underage purchases of alcohol. However, shop-floor compliance with these age limits appears to be problematic. This study addresses the issue of non-compliance with age limits. Which measures do vendors take to avoid underage alcohol sales, and what do they report as important reasons to comply or not with age limits for alcohol sales?

Open-ended telephone interviews were conducted with store managers selling alcohol (N = 106). Prior to the interviews, all outlets were visited by an underage mystery shopper in order to measure compliance with the legal age limits on alcohol sales. The interview results are compared against actual compliance rates.

Several measures have been taken to prevent underage sales, but the compliance level is low. Furthermore, open coding resulted in 19 themes, representing both valid and invalid arguments, that vendors mentioned as relevant to their decisions of whether to comply with the law. Compliance with age limits is dependent on the knowledge of the rules and the ability and motivation to follow the rules. The ability aspect in particular seems to be problematic, but in many cases, the motivation to actively comply with the age limits is lacking.

To enhance compliance, it is important to raise the awareness of the importance of age limits and to connect possible violations of the regulations to negative consequences
Item Type:Article
Additional information:Open access article
Copyright:© 2012 The Author(s)
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/publications/81078
Official URL:https://doi.org/10.1186/1747-597X-7-5
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