Dutch alcohol policy institute STAP has criticised the decision by online hypermarket Bol.com to sell alcohol, fearing it may lead to greater alcohol consumption, particularly among teens, Nu.nl reports.
Bol.com, which is starting alcohol sales on Wednesday, has said suppliers Gall & Gall and Albert Heijn have made an agreement with delivery services PostNL and DHL to carry out checks to see if the person who ordered the alcohol is older than 18. There is also a pop-up on the site for spirits, such as whisky, barring entry to people under the legal drinking age.
‘The packages will not be delivered without the check,’ a Bol.com spokesperson told Nu.nl.
But according to STAP director Wim van Dalen it is doubtful if age checks will work. ‘We have all ordered stuff online and we know delivery staff are always in a hurry…I predict 15 to 17 year-olds in particular will find it easier to get their hands on alcohol,’ Van Dalen was quoted as saying.
Access to alcohol is increasing, according to STEP. Apart from 70,000 to 80,000 physical stores, more online shops are selling alcohol. STEP also pointed out that ‘blurring’, offering alcoholic drinks at places like the hairdresser’s or in bookshops, is gaining in popularity.
‘In the case of Bol.com what is happening could be called ‘online blurring’ which is stimulating alcohol consumption. The threshold to buy is lowered at a time when people are already drinking too much, not just teens but adults too,’ Van Dalen told Nu.nl.
Bol.com has said it will be acting according to Dutch rules surrounding the sale of alcohol and will not be promoting alcoholic drinks by means of newsletters, NU.nl writes.
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