Law on alcoholic beverage control remains ineffective
Awareness of the dangers of alcohol seems not to be taking root despite efforts in this regard, and to the contrary alcohol consumption and promotion appear to be growing all the time.
Members of the Lao Women's Union, government officials and representatives of IOGT International in Laos attended a consultation workshop last Friday on the implementation of the Law on Alcoholic Beverage Control, which aims to protect women and children and minimise the dangers of alcohol.
The purpose of the workshop was to promote the Law on Alcoholic Beverage Control, raise awareness of the risks and dangers of alcohol, reduce its consumption, and minimise violence against women and children. The workshop was supported by IOGT International of Sweden.
Vice President of the Lao Women's Union and National Assembly member, Ms Bandith Pathoumvanh, said the law was approved on December 19, 2014, at the eighth ordinary session of the National Assembly's seventh legislature.
However the law has yet to be widely disseminated and its implementation has been slow, she noted.
Besides that, most individuals and entrepreneurs do not understand and don't know about the law, which is causing problems as there is still no attempt to curb the excessive consumption of alcohol.
The authorities have found that it is common for people under 15 years of age to drink alcohol regularly.
Alcohol consumption rates are also high across the whole population and Laos is the largest consumer of alcohol out of all the Asean countries.
Alcohol is the cause of most road accidents, fights and arguments and has negative effects on people's health amongst other things.
It is also amongst the main factors in many incidences of violence against women.
Moreover, women who are pregnant will be at risk of miscarriage or abnormal births if they drink during pregnancy.
The Lao Women's Union is a representative body which seeks to protect women and children's rights, and also campaigns about the effects of alcohol and drugs in society.
The union has partnered with the authorities in support of the Law on Alcoholic Beverage Control, to raise awareness of its intent and promote its enforcement.
It has also campaigned and raised awareness of the need to prevent violence against women and children.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update February 6, 2017)