THE sale of alcohol should be banned in sports grounds, schools and public places frequented by teenagers, according to sweeping recommendations in a report on underage drinking. The Commission on Youth interim report released yesterday also suggests tightening regulations on alcohol advertisements and packaging in order to warn young people on the perils of abusing alcohol. Existing laws only prohibit the selling of liquor to under-18s in bars and restaurants and the two-decade-old provisions do not cover retail outlets like supermarkets and stores. Concerns on underage drinking were raised after the Lan Kwai Fong tragedy two years ago, in which 21 revellers died. An inquiry highlighted 'widespread' and 'disturbing' instances of underage drinking at the scene. The commission found that alcohol consumption was common among local teenagers and there were signs Hong Kong was getting close to Western countries in the problem of underage drinking. More teenagers were taking alcohol and at an increasingly early age, the report revealed. Moreover, parents tended to hold a tolerant attitude. The chairman of the Commission, Eric Li Ka-cheung, advised the Government to introduce laws forcing breweries to put up health warning statements on their products and commercials. The commission also identified a need to regulate drinking scenes depicted in TV dramas and movies. 'Media images depicted in advertisements and dramas tend to glamorise drinking and provide the delusion that drinking is mature and an acceptable means to relieve depression,' Mr Li said. The public relations manager of Carlsberg Brewery Hong Kong, Derek Currie, said warning signs were unnecessary. 'We have already stated the percentage of alcohol on our products and we are telling the customers what we are selling,' Mr Currie said. TVB corporate relations manager Onie Chu Tsun-mic said drinking scenes had always been toned down in its productions and she dismissed the accusation that the media had deliberately glamorised drinking. The commission's interim report has been under departmental consultation and a full report is due to be released early next month. Acknowledging the fact that very little research had been done on the extent of underage drinking in Hong Kong, Mr Li said it was essential to conduct a comprehensive study on the subject before any specific measures could be brought in to tackle the problem. 'Without an accurate assessment of the extent of the problem, it is difficult for us to develop effective mechanisms to cultivate a correct attitude towards drinking and alcohol abuse,' he said.