82 JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL 25/2017
Kristjan Kask Mariliis Tael-Öeren
Tallinn University Estonian National Institute
for Health Development
How Young/Old Does One Look?
and Laypersons’ Estimation
of Young People’s Age
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 fulﬁ l that duty.*5 One factor inﬂ 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 staﬀ , 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
J. Inchley et al. Growing Up Unequal: Gender and Socioeconomic Diﬀ erences in Young People’s Health and Well-being.
Copenhagen: World Health Organization (an international report on the – survey from the Health Behaviour
in School-aged Children study); ESPAD group. The ESPAD report: Results from the European school survey project
on alcohol and other drugs. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction .
A. Markina, B. Žarkovski. Laste hälbiv käitumine Eestis [‘Deviant Behaviour of Children in Estonia’]. Tallinn: Justiits-
ministeerium (in Estonian).
A.C. Wagenaar et al. (). Where and how adolescents obtain alc oholic beverages. – Public Health Reports () /
, pp. –; A.C. Wagenaar et al. Sources of alcohol for underage drinkers. – Journal of Studies on Alcohol () /
, pp. –. – DOI: https://doi.org/./jsa....
Alcohol Act (Alkoholiseadus). – RT I, .., (in Estonian).
M. Tael, L. Aaben. Alkohoolsete jookide üle-eestiline testostlemine. Uuringu kokkuvõte. [‘Mystery Shopping for Alcoholic
Beverages in Estonia: A Summary of the Research’]. Tallinn: National Institute of Health Development (in Estonian).
P.A. George, G.J. Hole. Factors inﬂ uencing the accuracy of age estimates of unfamiliar faces. – Perception () / , pp.
–. – DOI: https://doi.org/./p.
L.A. Jason et al. Selling tobacco to minors: Can merchants accurately determine a customer’s age? – Journal of Human
Behavior in the Social Environment () / , pp. –. – DOI: https://doi.org/./jvn_; R.M. Merrill
et al. The relationship of perceived age and sales of tobacco and alcohol to underage customers. – Journal of Community
Health () / , pp. –; P. Willner et al. Alcohol sales to underage adolescents: An observational study and
evaluation of a police intervention. – Addiction () / , pp. –. – DOI: https://doi.org/./j.-