Support grows for lowering drinking age

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Related tags: Chief medical officer, Public house

A top medical chief has added his voice to calls to lower the drinking age to 16. Professor John Ashton, Cumbria's chief medical officer, said it...

A top medical chief has added his voice to calls to lower the drinking age to 16.

Professor John Ashton, Cumbria's chief medical officer, said it would be better for teenagers to drink in pubs where they can be supervised, than outside in parks.

His advice adds weight to similar recent pleas from pub industry leaders.

In recent weeks Giles Thorley of Punch Taverns and Tim Martin of JD Wetherspoon have spoken out about their wishes to see the drinking age lowered, and Ashton believes that if youngsters were allowed to drink alongside older people it would teach them to behave responsibly.

"We need to let youngsters drink from the age of 16 legally," he said. "It's better they are inside in a pub with sanctions of normal behaviour, rather than outside in the park with no controls.

"We should be more practical about things, sometimes you have to forget your principles and do the right thing."

Ashton also argued that recommended levels of alcohol were unrealistic in some circumstances. He said that a limit of 10 pints a week was "a non-starter" for "northern industrial working folk".

The professor's ideas were welcomed by Paul Brown, the director of Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service, whose annual general meeting Ashton was addressing.

Related topics: Legislation

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