14 September 2018
Underage drinking among youth in Lebanon is increasing. Regulating availability is one of the best buy policies recommended by the World Health Organization. To quantitatively document the current status of alcohol availability to youth in Lebanon, we used GPS technology to survey alcohol outlet density in four highly populated neighborhoods in Beirut, Lebanon, and to estimate their proximity to educational institutions. The density of alcohol outlets ranged from 18.30 to 80.95 per km 2 (average of 39.6 alcohol outlets/km 2). The highest number of total alcohol outlets was in the “Hamra & Jamiaa” area, which includes one of the largest private universities in the country. Thirteen out of 109 (12%) alcohol outlets (on and off-premise) were located less 100 m away from educational institutions, in violation of the current licensing law. None of the off-premise and the majority (94%) of on-premise alcohol outlets displayed the “no sale for <18” sign. Findings were indicative of an environment conducive to increased access and availability of alcohol among youth in Lebanon probably attributed to the prevailing weak alcohol policies and their enforcement. Systematic collection and reporting of alcohol outlet densities is critical to understand the alcogenic environment and guide local harm reduction policies.