Initiation begins at the kiosk where mixed drinks are sold openly

Teenagers have easy access to ready-to-drink cocktails and beers, since they are freely sold at kiosks. There is no clear answer as to whether these sales are legal, since the law on selling goods at kiosks is somewhat unclear. The National Food and Drug Organization (EFET) says the sale of products with an alcohol content of higher than 4 percent is not permitted, but kiosks sell beer with an alcohol content of 5 percent, about as much as the ready-to-drink products. According to the law, it is not permitted for kiosks to sell «bottled or canned soft drinks (lemonade, orangeade, etc.) with the exception of bottled or canned juices, with or without sugar…, as well as bottled or canned beers and ready-made coffee.» In other words, everything being sold at kiosks is actually not permitted. However, elsewhere the law states: «bottled or canned soft drinks, beers and ready-made coffee, if to be drunk on the spot, are to be served with a straw enclosed in a plastic or paper covering.» Kathimerini asked a major importer of alcoholic drinks about ready-to-drink products, but was told the firm’s legal department was not aware of any law banning the sale of these products at kiosks. A small percentage of ready-to-drink products are not properly labeled. «Most, in fact almost all, are imported from the European Union accompanied by the required certification and are analyzed by the State Chemical Laboratory. Only about 5-6 percent are found not to be properly labeled,» said Giorgos Siantas, head of the alcohol department and of the Association of Chemists at the state laboratory. «That is, one could be labeled as containing vodka when it actually contains a liqueur, or whiskey instead of something else. Or else they are marked as having a different alcohol content than what they actually have, but only to a slight degree. These do not constitute a public health risk,» he said.