Off Limits: The effectiveness of agelimits in reducing underage sales

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

182 Downloads (Pure)


The potentially negative effects of drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, using illicit drugs, gambling, and exposure to violent or otherwise detrimental movies or games are widely acknowledged. Risks may involve harm to people’s mental or physical health and/or their social well-being. These risks may be especially valid for specific groups in society. Societies generally aim to protect children and adolescents from risky products. Availability can be seen as an important predictor of adolescent consumption of risky products. In order to reduce underage sales, in many countries so-called age limits have been introduced. Age limits serve to prevent young people’s access and exposure to risky products and to delay the age at which young people may start consumption. In addition to this so-called threshold effect, there has been speculation regarding the possible occurrence of an opposite effect. The forbidden fruit theory suggests that age limits may make restricted commodities more attractive. The studies presented in this dissertation focus on the issue of compliance with age limits and the effects of various interventions that were designed to increase compliance with age limits. Furthermore, the possibility of a forbidden fruit effect was examined. Based on the empirical chapters of this dissertation, raising awareness and providing feedback are distinguished as the essential instruments in increasing knowledge, ability and motivation and subsequently improving compliance. Age limits are an important first step towards protecting adolescents against risky products. Without actual attention to the issue of compliance, however, their contribution will remain limited.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • de Jong, Menno D.T., Supervisor
Award date8 Dec 2011
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3261
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Off Limits: The effectiveness of agelimits in reducing underage sales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this