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Uruguay: Law Regulating Alcohol Consumption Enacted

(Feb. 5, 2020) On January 8, 2020, Law No. 19855 regulating the consumption of alcoholic beverages was published in Uruguay’s official gazette. The new Law aims to manage the risks and prevent the harm resulting from the “problematic consumption of alcoholic beverages. Additionally, it adopts measures to protect and ensure the rights, comprehensive well-being, and health of people in the country

Specifically, the Law adopts preventive public policy measures applicable to problematic age- and gender-related alcoholic beverage consumption. It also promotes and enhances the development of educational, community, and family programs aimed at preventing dangerous drinking habits.

The Law requires the implementation of public awareness campaigns about the harmful effects of problematic drinking on health and general well-being, as well as measures to promote the early detection and reporting by health care and education professionals.

Law No. 19855 also encourages the active participation of the community in the design and execution of preventive actions aimed at addressing problems related to problematic consumption of alcohol.

Regarding the sale of alcohol, it creates the Registry of Alcoholic Beverage Retailers and Related Activities within the Ministry of Public Health and requires that retailers authorized to sell alcohol post signs saying “Authorized store for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Sale prohibited to minors under 18 years of age.”

Holding for-profit or nonprofit competitions, tournaments, or public shows (espectáculos) promoting the consumption of alcoholic beverages, with the exception of tasting, is also prohibited under the new Law. Furthermore, public shows where alcoholic beverages are sold, offered, or supplied must provide access to free drinking-water dispensers.

Finally, the advertising of alcoholic beverages is to be restricted. Minors are prohibited from participating in or being represented in alcoholic beverage advertising. Also prohibited is the promotion of the health benefits of alcoholic beverage consumption, as well as misleading representations of the consumption of alcoholic beverages and their consequences. Public figures or celebrities may not appear in advertisements attributing their success or recognition to the consumption of alcohol.