Convenience and grocery stores that sell alcohol are not very effective at screening out under-age customers - at least not in New York state - according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, based in Arlington, Va. The institute conducted a study in which men aged 19 or 20 attempted to purchase beer in New York establishments, even though the legal alcohol purchasing age is 21 years old. The under-age customers were successful in 84 of 113 attempts, including purchases in national chain groceries as well as delicatessens and smaller shops in Westchester County and Albany.

The institute says the problem in other states is probably similar. The study was conducted in New York because state law allowed such a study, provided the young men signed a statement that they had no ``intent to consume'' the beer.

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