Children under 15 should never be given alcohol, England's chief medical officer is to say. Will you follow this advice?
Sir Liam Donaldson will also call for patents to supervise any older children given alcohol.
Ministers and doctors are worried by rising rates of both binge-drinking and alcohol-related liver disease. The public will be asked for its views on the advice during a consultation period.
Some parents, and researchers, have argued that giving children an occasional drink helps demystify it. But Sir Liam will insist that an "alcohol free" childhood is the healthiest option.
Will this advice help address binge-drinking and health problems? Are you a parent or a teenager? If so, what do you think of this advice?
I think completely stopping people having any alcohol under 15 is a bad idea. If anything, it's likely to mystify alcohol more and make it more desirable to teens and, hence, encourage binge drinking.
To me, I was always allowed a little alcohol from a very young age. It meant that when I hit teens the thought of alcohol wasn't so appealing - yes I drink but I was never one to binge on the streets or whatever or even binge now. One of my friends wasn't allowed to touch alcohol until she was 16 though and soon as she hit 16 went mad and couldn't handle the alcohol the same way other people who had been allowed it could.
I don't think the main problem lies with access to alcohol but more with the society's perception of binge drinking. It's seen as harmless and a bit of fun... perhaps maybe like cigarettes were in the 60s when it was 'hip' to smoke. I don't think the answer's to take away alcohol but rather to change this perception among society.
The advice is flawed by example of most of western europe. I find the argument linking experiences with alcohol from a younger age to a greater respect and understanding for alcohol a strong one.
It seems most logical for children to experience many of the dangerous aspects of life when in the care of their parents. That is, of course, what childhood is about - learning how to be a successful (whatever your definition of successful) adult.
It is the late drinking age in the UK that already I feel is cause of much of the problems of binge drinking.
I don't think anyone at age 15 or below should drink at all for health and social reasons. Besides drinking isn't very good. You can get all tired out.
Even if parents were to ban their children from drinking I doubt it would make much difference to the type of people who binge drink etc because the attitude to alcohol in this country is warped beyond compare. People see it as a 'toy' to get hammered and not as a condiment to be respected.
I've been drinking at home since I was about 12. I had a small amount in my glass to go with my meal about once a week and drinking good quality alcohol in moderation is great for your health. To this day I do not drink on an empty stomach (very bad) and never go somewhere just to get drunk/binge. In fact I consider being in an intoxicated state as very shaming. I don't understand why this is so attractive to people in this country. Perhaps it is because I'm not English and come from a mediterranean culture? Quite how the attitude in this country to alcohol will be changed I don't know, but it won't come from policies such as this.
I cannot see any reason why kids under 15 should be having alcohol at all. I never did, and I don't drink a great deal even now.
Between the ages of 17-20 I did used to get drunk when I went out clubbing, but that's not exactly uncommon (and it was only once a fortnight at the MOST, usually once a month.)
And I've only ever been sick from alcohol three times in my entire life.
Nowadays (when I'm not pregnant I mean) I only drink maybe 1 or 2 drinks a month, and it's because I like the taste (e.g. baileys) not to get drunk.
I haven't been drunk in years.
Offering alcohol to young children seems illogical. Why not offer them cigarettes as well? Surely the same thing of "it will teach them to have it in moderation" would apply there too?
It's not something a child needs to have polluting his/her body, that's why. Same for alcohol.
I dont think it will do anything to teenagers now, theyve already been exposed to alcohol. parents "banning" them will only encourage them. I dont think youll see any changes until the younger generation become older.
Personally i couldnt care, i dont drink. Been there done that.
Alcohol is a massive problem in this country. Everybody's so desperate to look liberal so they allow it.
Most of us don't have to deal with the endless problems caused by alcohols in Britain's cities, so we're happy
Alcohol & young people is a problem, there is no denying it, but so are many other things, and throwing laws at them usually does not help.
But that is not the point I am trying to make, I just think the nannny state is becoming the real problem, and we need to stand against it otherwise one day we will realise it is too late. for example a woman was asked her opinions on this topic of parents not giving children alcohol and her response was along the lines of:
" Well I think it is a good idea, because without rules & guidelines people have to think for themselves"
Now if people really don't want to think for themselves, it is a sad day for the society....
Yes, the CMO is unsurprisingly correct: drinking damages your health, and that can only be more pronounced on children. However so does everything else worth doing. I wonder how long it will be before the CMO is offering advice about not letting children visit the park unsupervised, or climb trees, or ride bicycles under the age of 14...
This is what happens when you pay money and give status to people with very narrow areas of expertise. The CMO probably knows a lot about health: what he doesn't know about it life, politics, raising children and social etiquette. He should therefore restrict himself to discussing health effects rather than giving unwanted advice.
So, Mr Chief Medical Officer, how about you **** off and fix the National Health Service instead of issuing pointless 'advice' to the rest of us? Oh, I'm sorry, is that too difficult or too much to expect from you in exchange for your six-figure salary?
friend I totaly agree with you
Whatever the government does, under-15s drinking will ALWAYS happen, whether it's at home or at school or at the corner shop, etc.
Turning alcohol into a forbidden fruit = not good.
Making kids aware of it and its dangers whilst allowing them to drink it in very small amounts = good.
Hmm i have a mixed opinion. I've been allowed a little bit of wine with meals on special occasions since i was about 13, but i don't think it made me view it in a different way in that as soon as i hit 18, i went a bit mad with it. I won't be letting my children have any drinks with meals etc until they're about 15 or 16, i don't think it's necessary for children to drink it and if their parents give them it, they may view this as an "ok" to do it with friends at parties and in other circumstances without adult supervision, and that's where there's a danger. There's an age limit on it for a reason, it's not meant to be consumed by younger people whose bodies are not yet ready to handle the effects of something such as alcohol.
The British and US limits on drinking alcohol do not stop teenagers from consuming alcohol, we like in an above-18 society where many people are drinking underage. This shows that it isn't working. Instead I think it makes underage drinking cool and so makes us more likely to do it. It is called teenage rebellion and there is nothing that the adults can't stop about it if they make it look glamorous. The amount of adverts on the television, I mean seeing Clooney flog off Martini or those funny Strongbow adverts appeals to a teenage audience as something which is cool. We are bombarded with adverts, telling us the pros of drinking alcohol, and when it is forbidden? We would drink it anyway.
However, while these adverts are making underage drinking more attractive, if you would take them away you would still probably find the same surveys and statistics. Even though they put on strict limits in '89 by the European Council, I still grew up watching adverts for alco-pops in the '90s. Advertising weaves through generally and even now, when we have a complete blanket ban on tobacco advertising, 10% of the UK's teenagers smoke regularly and it has been that way when smoking was advertised. Alcohol comsumption is attractive to us for much wider reasons than advertising, and the only way to regulate this is to reduce the age limit.
In Italy, Spain and France the limit is lower, around 16. A culture of having wine at the table from a young age encourages a responsible approach where alcohol is not consumed for its own sake or to excess. With higher alcohol age limits, young people in the UK and US find it harder to get alcohol and so binge-drink when they do. I know the harms and risks of alcohol abuse, but the laws and legislation in effect today creates a damaging attitude towards alcohol which continues into our later lives. I recognise that what is happening today ruins lives but I don't think it is because of alcohol, it is our lack of respect towards alcohol which is the problem.
On the issue of health, Surprisingly to some, studies have shown that limited alcohol comsumption (a couple of glasses of red wine per week) actually has better health benifits. However this message and the health benifits are lost in the binge-drinking culture. France and oher european countries have shown us that lowering the age limit would be an important step in changing drinking habits and would have long-term health benefits for us.
As we are unable to drink legally in pubs or bars, but are old enough to want to socialise on an evening, we are forced to do it secretly on streets and in parks. This often creates a nuisance to the people around us, it's a bit intimidating seeing a group of drunks walk past by the street. It also makes it more likely that younger people would be exposed to alcohol a bit earlier than what would be right. It is often one of the causes of teenage crime, vandalism and violence.
No offence, but I believe that those who are blanketly against underage drinking have a very romanticised view that restricting alcohol would mean less people taking it. Studies have shown, and my experience has shown that most people in the UK have consumed alcohol in the UK before they reach their 18th birthday, so clearly these laws aren't working. If you want another example there is evidence from the US which suggests that increasing the alcohol age limit has no real impact on college students' alcohol drinking. I've found, while roaming around that at Arizona State University in the late 1980s during the time Arizona increased its minimum age from 19 to 21 showed that only 6% of students reduced their alcohol intake. Perhaps more worryingly 22% of students reported that they intended to take more soft drugs as they would be easier to hide in a college dorm than bottles of alcohol. When laws are ignored like this it undermines our legal systems, it should reflect the reality of our drinking patterns and have a lower mininum wage.
I think that fundamentally, this is an issue of freedom of choice. Legally, our parents accept that we are old enough to make rational decisions about a lot of things. From having sex to fighting for our country. They also allow us to harm ourselves if we choose to, by gambling (once, even smoking). If we are thought rational for us to make these choices at 16 and above there is no reason to deny us the right to choose whether we should drink alcohol or not.
It is also interesting to note that some of the politicians advocating this approach, some are the ones pictured taking drugs or drinking in their youth. And I absolutely concur with L I B 's and ToryDan's previous posts above.
people would still get hold of it somehow, but i think it would make it worse if parents banned it, as it will be as if it's a big mystery, therefore, make them want it even more, and not knowing their limit, making the situation worse
i agree, ban of drinking will just make even more kids drink, just to rebell again their parents. And I think it is better than totally restricting alcohol of parents actually do let them drink like giving them a sip of wine to taste or champagne at new years just that they get used to it and don't see it as something "mysterious" you really have to try ...
Also, I'm a t international school, and just what I see, people who were never allowed to drink tend to drink more and less controlled than the ones where the parents never made a bigger deal out of it ...