Law nº 19/2023, on the Prevention and Control of the Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages by Minors, was published on May 8th 2023 and will come into effect on November 4th.
Responding to a long-felt need in Macau, this Law establishes the prohibition of the sale or provision of alcoholic beverages to minors, in order to face the growing trend of consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors with all the consequent disadvantages of this consumption, for minors themselves and for Public Health in general.
The Law defines minors as all individuals under 18 years of age and Alcoholic beverages as all beverages containing a volume of alcohol greater than 1.2%, with the exception of medicines from both Chinese medicine and Western medicine.
The Law prohibits the sale or provision, with or without commercial purposes, of alcoholic beverages in Health establishments and in places intended for minors, namely schools (up to Secondary Education) and other education and assistance establishments for minors.
The sale or provision of alcoholic beverages in vending machines is also prohibited (unless they have a way of controlling the buyer’s age).
The sale of Alcoholic Beverages to minors over the Internet or by mail is also prohibited, and the seller must ensure a way of controlling the age of the buyer.
Minors are prohibited from marketing Alcoholic Beverages, either as employees of others or as self-employed entrepreneurs.
Internet and mail sellers are obliged to implement a buyer age control system. It is not clear from the law whether the buyer’s statement when entering a website is sufficient or whether a more sophisticated system is needed to ensure that the customer is not a minor.
Sellers in physical locations are required to post signs in these locations that prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors.
In self-service commercial establishments, places where alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are displayed must be well signposted and delimited.
Alcoholic drinks must also have the percentage of alcohol they contain clearly and visible, even when the drinks are mixed.
The advertising law is also amended, making it necessary that the advertising of alcoholic beverages always have a clearly visible mention of the prohibition of sale or provision of alcoholic beverages to minors.
Violation of the law can result in fines of up to MOP200,000. In certain cases, the seizure of objects and the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages may also be applied as accessory sanctions.
The application and supervision of this diploma are the responsibility of the Health Services, the Institute of Municipal Affairs, Tourism and the Police.
It is expected that the authorities will raise awareness and publicize with traders and the general public in order to make sure that violations of the law when it comes into force are non-existent or residual.