The European Spirits Organisation (CEPS) has reaffirmed the industry's condemnation of alcohol consumption by underage consumers.

The trade body said yesterday (26 March) that it "firmly condemns the sale of alcoholic beverages to the underage". The comments follow the release this week of the 2007 results from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD).

"Across Europe, the spirits industry implements numerous information campaigns aimed at preventing alcohol misuse, and trains bar staff and retail personnel in observing the underage sales ban," said Jamie Fortescue, director general of CEPS. "Tackling underage drinking is the joint responsibility of all stakeholders, including governments, industry, schools, parents and civil society.

"EU spirits producers are committed to play their part in such a partnership. Enforcing existing youth protection laws, while ensuring that teenagers do not perceive their peers' irresponsible drinking behaviour as acceptable or cool. We take the ESPAD results seriously and will analyse them thoroughly."

Fortescue noted, however, that there can be no 'one-size-fits-all' approach for the whole continent. "The diverging national figures released today by ESPAD only confirm this," he said." As drinking patterns are closely linked to local cultures and traditions, they vary widely from country to country - and will therefore also need targeted and localised responses."

The full results of the ESPAD survey can be found here.