Best practice - Portugal


In 2012, about 73% of the Portuguese population aged 15-74 has had at least one experience of alcohol consumption throughout life and 60% had consumed alcohol in the last 12 months. In Portugal, alcohol consumption, regardless the type (experimental, recent or current) is higher in men. Among the Portuguese population aged 15-74 years, the prevalence of binge drinking was 7.4% during the last 12 month period, and drunkenness in the strict sense (staggering, with difficulty speaking, vomiting, and / or not remembering what happened after) was 5.1%, had higher prevalence in younger age groups, particularly, among the 15-24 year old (13.2% and 12.8% respectively). (1)

Since 2008, Portugal has a space for governmental/ non-governmental organisations and economic operators to meet and debate about problems linked to harmful use of alcohol and its implication for public health – National Forum on Alcohol and Health (Fórum Nacional do Álcool e Saúde – FNAS). FNAS played an important advisory role in the design of the new law – Decree No. 50/2013, of April 16, which amends the Decree No. 9/2002, of 24 January, establishing the availability, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places and places open to the public in Portugal.

Problem Identification

After analysing the changes introduced by the new Portuguese law on alcohol, the Portuguese National Youth Council (CNJ) and the European Medical Student´s Association (EMSA), identified the legal drinking age as the priority advocacy action to tackle under the Triangle Project. There are now two legal drinking ages for different alcoholic drinks, i.e., 16 years for wine and beer and 18 for all type of alcoholic beverages (spirits). By way of comparison, the vast majority of other European countries have 18 years or more as the minimum legal age for alcohol consumption of any alcoholic beverages.

The campaign

In march 2014, CNJ and EMSA in partnership with the General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e Dependências – SICAD) ,the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth (Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude – IPDJ) and the National University Sport Federation (Federação Académica do Desporto Universitário – FADU Portugal) launched an awareness campaign to raise awareness among youth, especially minors, on harmful use of alcohol. The campaign was an instrument to promote the discussion among stakeholders and to create media buzz in order to inform and stimulate public opinion about the recent law changes regarding the legal drinking age in Portugal.

Campaign 100% ZERO
Target groups:
  • Youth aged 15-18 years old
  • The Media
  • Government and Stakeholders
  • General Public


  • To raise awareness on short and long term effects of alcohol consumption among youth, especially, minors;
  • To inform and stimulate public opinion about recent law changes regarding the legal drinking age in Portugal;
  • To promote discussion about the recent law changes on legal drinking age;
  • To build a Portuguese coalition to raise awareness on harmful use of alcohol among youth, especially minors;
  • To develop public awareness on the recommended legal drinking age;
  • To discuss recent law changes with national stakeholders;
Advocacy Strategy
1st step
Engaging Stakeholders

To engage public and private institutions with the 100% ZERO Campaign we promoted a Public Presentation in March. Among others, we gathered the Directorate General for Health, the Regional Health Administrations, the Directorate General for Education, the National Mental Health Programme, the Child Protection Commission, Anti-Alcoholic Portuguese Society.

A member of the Health Committee also supported the campaign he is committed to open again the discussion about the recent law amendments at the Parliament.

2nd step
Engaging the Media

It was really important to have a strong knowledge-based approach and a strong campaign to maximise Media coverage.

The Media helped us to inform and stimulate public opinion about recent law changes (clipping – annex)

3rd step
Engaging the Directorate General for Education

In order to spread the campaign at national schools the partnership with the Directorate-General for Education was developed.

Campaign Materials

1. (Ferry, Vital & Urban, 2013; SICAD, PNRCAD, 2013 -2020).