Enhanced Enforcement of Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors

Enforcing laws that keep minors from buying and consuming alcohol is a critical component of policy implementation. This is largely done through compliance checks, which test whether retailers will sell alcohol to underage decoys. Done in conjunction with local law enforcement or alcohol beverage control agencies, those who sell alcohol to minors may receive legal or administrative sanctions to deter future violations.


Elder, R. W., Lawrence, B. A., Janes, G., Brewer, R. D., Toomey, T. L., Hingson, R. W., ... & Fielding, J. (2007). Enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting sale of alcohol to minors: systematic review of effectiveness for reducing sales and underage drinking. Transportation research circular, 2007(E-C123), 181-188. Available online here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2004). Enhanced enforcement of laws to prevent alcohol sales to underage persons--New Hampshire, 1999-2004. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 53(21), 452. Available online here.  

Wagenaar, A. C., Toomey, T. L., & Erickson, D. J. (2005). Preventing youth access to alcohol: outcomes from a multi‐community time‐series trial. Addiction, 100(3), 335-345. Available online here.


The U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance (USAPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization translating alcohol policy research into public health practice. The Alliance is committed to ensuring that local and statewide organizations engaging in alcohol policy initiatives have access to the science, resources and technical assistance, including support for organizing efforts, required to engage in informed decisions and actions in translating alcohol policy research into public health practice.

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