Stronger teen drinking fears

COMMUNITY groups have called for stricter regulations surrounding alcohol laws and advertising, with fears the current system is promoting a stronger teen drinking culture in Tasmania.

State law allows a "responsible adult" on private property to supply alcohol to a minor under their watch.

And while new statistics by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre revealed teen alcoholism is in decline, the laws concerning underage drinking in Tasmania have prompted debate among community members.

Cornerstone Youth Services chief executive officer, Cate Sinclair called the current Tasmanian underage drinking laws "contradictory".

"It's illegal to drink under the age of 18, but the law says parents can supply their children with alcohol," she said.

"It's sending mixed messages and it makes it a bit confusing."

Tasmanian Division Salvation Army alcohol and other drugs and corrections manager, Grant Herring admitted the Salvos weren't the "party police", but said teenage attitudes towards alcoholism needed fine-tuning.

"I think there needs to be an understanding built into the community that drinking to get drunk is not cool - that starts in the family," he said.

"I don't know that it's (the current under-age drinking laws) directly encouraging younger people to drink, but I do believe certainly that advertising needs to be done a little differently."

The call for change comes after a Prospect bottle shop owner, who did not want to be named, opened up to The Examiner about what he calls teenage "alcoholism" in Launceston.

"The stigma we had around binge drinking a few years ago - that's happening," he said.

"The reason why attitudes can't change is because of the families though.

"You have to educate them, or at least attempt to. The problem is that it's hard to do sometimes."

The Tasmanian government was contacted but did not return calls.

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