How Young/Old Does One Look? Sales Personnel's and Laypersons' Estimation of Young People's Age

Author:Kristjan Kask, Mariliis Tael-Öeren

Several studies have found that the level of alcohol use among minors both in Europe generally and in Estonia is relatively high. However, we have less knowledge of issues related to age estimations in this field. Therefore, research was conducted to examine how accurate sales personnel in Estonia are in estimating the age of young people and, in addition, to compare salespersons and laypersons (i... (see full summary)

Kristjan Kask Mariliis Tael-Öeren
Tallinn University Estonian National Institute
for Health Development
How Young/Old Does One Look?
Sales Personnel’s
and Laypersons’ Estimation
of Young People’s Age
1. Introduction
Underage drinking is a serious societal problem in Europe. Several studies have found that the use of alco-
hol among minors both in Europe generally*1 and in Estonia*2 is relatively high. Although laws of various
sorts have been passed as legislative attempts to restrict minors from buying alcohol, they still are able to
do so. Therefore, one possible contributor to adolescents’ use of alcohol can be seen in the ease of access.*3
By Estonian law*4, alcohol retailers have a responsibility of not selling alcoholic beverages to minors;
however, in reality they frequently fail to ful l that duty.*5 One factor in uencing the issue is that salesper-
sons’ age estimations are often incorrect, contributing to sale of alcohol to people to whom these beverages
should not be sold. It has been found that sales sta , especially older adults*6, tend to systematically over-
estimate the age of young people who try to buy age-restricted goods such as alcohol and tobacco.*7 For
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