NHS Health Scotland
Outcome Indicators


y. Evidence for test purchasing and enforcement of underage sales restrictions
There is evidence for effectiveness of
  • Maintaining and raising minimum purchase ages for alcohol in reducing alcohol-related harm when they are enforced.

SCOTTISH POLICY NOTE: Alcohol test purchasing arrangements were rolled out across the whole of Scotland at the end of 2007 following successful pilots. The alcohol policy framework; ‘Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action’ (2009) outlines a Government commitment to undertake a review of how test-purchasing has been implemented in order to identify any lessons which can be learned and shared. In addition they will work with Young Scot to further promote the Young Scot National Entitlement Card and to bolster its use and recognition as a proof of age card.

The Government had also previously proposed to raise the minimum off-sales purchase age for alcohol from 18 to 21. Following the consultation phase they now propose to legislate to:
 place a duty on Licensing Boards to consider raising the minimum age for off-sales purchases within their area, or part of their area, to 21 when they are reviewing their licensing policy statements.
 enable Licensing Boards to apply such a condition without requiring a hearing in respect of every premise concerned.
 give the Chief Constable or the local Licensing Forum powers to request that their local Licensing Board consider the matter of an age restriction at any time.

The Alcohol etc (Scotland) Bill, passed in November 2010, included an amendment that, from Spring 2011 onwards, age verification schemes should apply to anyone looking under the age of 25 (formerly 21).



WHO. 2009. Evidence for the effectiveness and cost–effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm. World Health Organisation: Europe.

Babor, T., Caetano, R., Casswell, S., Edwards, G., Giesbrecht, N., Graham, K., et al.  2010. Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Research and Public Policy. 2nd Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press