Study finds teens accessing beer gardens

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Bangkok – A new survey has found high school students are able to access beer gardens, with the head of the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee suggesting the establishments could be considered in violation of the law.

Rangsit University instructor and member of the Anti-Alcohol Network, Dr. Srirach Lapyai Loisamutr has reported the findings of a survey of beer gardens since 2015 that found one in three, or about 34 percent, of all high school students had at least once visited a beer garden despite being under age for drinking.

The research found 80.2 percent of those questioned had a desire to go to large beer gardens, mostly for entertainment purposes. Dr. Srirach noted that one alarming finding was that 23.4 of respondents reported seeing such establishments near schools or outside of commercial zones with as many as 31.2 percent seeing the venues set up near flea markets. Researchers who inspected the gardens themselves indicated that vetting of entrants was lax and that young people drinking at the gardens often drank to excess and were at risk of then driving under the influence.

Director of the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee, Dr. Nipon Chinanonvej, remarked that beer gardens can be considered equivalent to marketing events for alcohol beverages, which are banned by the Alcohol Act of 2008. He called for stricter control on the gardens and for punitive measures to be taken, including jail sentences of up to 1 year and fines of up to 500,000 baht.