Mary Ann Sieghart has a great piece in the Independent today about how, inadvertently, we have designed a system that almost encourages young people to drink irresponsibly. As she argues, a lot of problems have come, oddly, from making it harder for people to drink under age in pubs. As Sieghart puts it, ‘And because we were under 18, we knew we had to remain inconspicuous. The landlord would tolerate our presence as long as we didn’t embarrass ourselves or him. We didn’t dare get smashed or he wouldn’t allow us back. And because we tended to meet the same group of friends in the same pub, being banned was not a good move.’ There are, by contrast, no such constraints when under 18s buy drink–or get someone to buy them drink–from an off license.
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