General Discussion

Drinking Ages
piraterpg at 11:37AM, Jan. 10, 2008
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For some time I have wondered about the various drinking ages of the world. I know that it is generally 18 years. However in some countries like the US the age is 21, and in other countries like Denmark the drinking age is 16. So I am wondering:

Firstly: what determines the drinking age and why?

Secondly: What are the various drinking ages of the world? (what is the lowest, highest etc)

If anyone has any answers or comments please dont be shy. I m just a lone soul trying to find out more about alcohol :P

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:44PM
Puff_Of_Smoke at 12:18PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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I think it's 18 here in Japan… But then I'm most likely wrong.
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usedbooks at 12:34PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_drinking_age

18 is most common. Some places have no minimum. Alcohol is illegal in some countries. Some places make distinctions among different types of alcohol (beer, wine, etc.).
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:37PM
Product Placement at 12:37PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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It's 20 in Iceland…. well technically there is no drinking age but you have to be 20 to by it. However there is no law against anyone under age drinking alcohol. If a kid is spotted with alcohol however then the booze will be confiscated but the kid is not in any trouble.

You already mentioned that Denmark is 16 but in Luxembourg and Switzerland the drinking age is 15

If that's too far for you then I think you should know that drinking age in Canada is 18-19 years, depending where you are (for example it's 18 in Alberta and Quebec). Also there is no minimum age in Cuba.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:49PM
Croi Dhubh at 2:06PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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It's only been rather recently that it's 21 years old in America. Also, to say that it's 21 years old in America is a generalization, as that's not completely true.

What happened is the highway safety administration told the states that they would not fund them any more money for road repairs or upgrades unless they upped the drinking age. The federal government does not have the authority to make such a law, so they put it on the states themselves.

What resulted was a “no sale for under 21”, with lots of loopholes. For instance, in New York, New York, you can drink as young as 16 as long as 1.) You are not the one ordering, 2.) The person ordering is at least 21 years of age, and 3.) That person is an acting legal guardian.

This type of thing is common amongst many states. Ddrinking was legal on a military installation if you were 18 years of age even after all that happened for quite a while. Now you must be 21 years of age again. Also, if you go to a country where it is legal for you to drink, but are not 21, and do drink off base, you can be cited under the UCMJ.


Puff_Of_Smoke
I think it's 18 here in Japan… But then I'm most likely wrong.
It's “If you can reach the vending machine”, from what I hear.

Technically, it's 20.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:54AM
lba at 2:12PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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Croi Dhubh
Puff_Of_Smoke
I think it's 18 here in Japan… But then I'm most likely wrong.
It's “If you can reach the vending machine”, from what I hear.

Technically, it's 20.

Pretty much. Last time I was there I could walk into just about any restaurant or bar and order a Sapporo and I was only 17 at the time. I spent some time with a buddy and a couple girls from our host highschool drinking and we had a cop in a booth on the other side of the bar watching us. The only thing we were asked is if we could make sure we'd get home.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:28PM
Puff_Of_Smoke at 2:30PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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Croi Dhubh
Puff_Of_Smoke
I think it's 18 here in Japan… But then I'm most likely wrong.
It's “If you can reach the vending machine”, from what I hear.
Puff_Of_Smoke
I'm most likely wrong.
Also, you live without money, too. ‘If you can reach into a vending machine.’ They're EVERYWHERE.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:55PM
amanda at 2:50PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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It's 21 in Texas, but right across the border in Mexico, I believe it's 18 (that being a good reason that Mexico is a popular vacation spot for the kiddies) - either that, or the bartenders/cashiers don't bother IDing.

Since Texas is in the Bible Belt, there are a lot of restrictions for even selling it - I used to live in a dry county, meaning no establishment sold alcohol (restaurants, stores, gas stations) - then moved to a non-dry county where you can buy beer in the grocery market! How quaint!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:50AM
Atom Apple at 4:08PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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Highest is most likely all the illegals and lowest is most likely all the nones.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:06AM
seventy2 at 5:09PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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Croi Dhubh
This type of thing is common amongst many states. Ddrinking was legal on a military installation if you were 18 years of age even after all that happened for quite a while. Now you must be 21 years of age again. Also, if you go to a country where it is legal for you to drink, but are not 21, and do drink off base, you can be cited under the UCMJ.

with most air force bases, in other countries, it's the base commanders discretion….and most have it set to that country's legal age……the first time i bought alcohol was in england….

and while deployed it's…if you're there, in uniform, you can get it on base….


but as far as a countries drinking age…it depends on their view of alcohol…like germany…my aunt said they used to take my cousin into the bars and it was cool…it was like family outings…..

middle east i haven't even seen bottle's in their stores….(we're not supposed to buy or drink it off base)…..

america has a bunch of mothers against everything, and thus the drinking age is raised…
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:28PM
ozoneocean at 6:46AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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In Australia the drinking age is 18. That's the same as the voting age, when you're considered an adult in work, able to be tried as an adult for criminal offences (I think), able to join the military (I think)…
But the age of consent is 16, except in Tasmania and South Australia where it's 17. And in Queensland the age of consent for gay men is 18, but everywhere else it's the same as the straight one. lol!

Consent ages are way funnier and more interesting than drinking ages, see this sit here:
http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
piraterpg at 8:36AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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… what do the people do in the countries where there is only a question mark? Oo

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:44PM
ozoneocean at 10:05AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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I have no idea…

Actually I'd say that whoever put the list together couldn't find it online so didn't put anything there. It'd be a bit more complicated to find the info, but all they'd need to do is phone the consulate or embassy of the country, tell the what you want and why, and get them to find out for you.
But these days, if it isn't online, it doesn't exist lol!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
Croi Dhubh at 5:18PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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seventy2
Croi Dhubh
This type of thing is common amongst many states. Ddrinking was legal on a military installation if you were 18 years of age even after all that happened for quite a while. Now you must be 21 years of age again. Also, if you go to a country where it is legal for you to drink, but are not 21, and do drink off base, you can be cited under the UCMJ.

with most air force bases, in other countries, it's the base commanders discretion….and most have it set to that country's legal age……the first time i bought alcohol was in england….

and while deployed it's…if you're there, in uniform, you can get it on base….


but as far as a countries drinking age…it depends on their view of alcohol…like germany…my aunt said they used to take my cousin into the bars and it was cool…it was like family outings…..

middle east i haven't even seen bottle's in their stores….(we're not supposed to buy or drink it off base)…..

america has a bunch of mothers against everything, and thus the drinking age is raised…
It's not “the mothers”.

Thanks for the heads up on the Air Force rules. I was in the Army.


ozoneocean
In Australia the drinking age is 18. That's the same as the voting age, when you're considered an adult in work, able to be tried as an adult for criminal offences (I think), able to join the military (I think)…
But the age of consent is 16, except in Tasmania and South Australia where it's 17. And in Queensland the age of consent for gay men is 18, but everywhere else it's the same as the straight one. lol!

Consent ages are way funnier and more interesting than drinking ages, see this sit here:
http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm

It's technically 15 here in Colorado, but with restrictions. If 15, but less than 17 and more than 10 years older, then it's a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If at least 14, but not 15, and more than 4 years older, it's a Felony.

So, without any problems for anyone, it's 17.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:54AM
Frostflowers at 2:30AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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Legal drinking age in Sweden is 18 - which means you can go to the pub and buy a drink. However, it gets a bit complicated.

See, in Sweden, there's sort of a monopoly on selling alcohol outside of pubs. While you can get your hand on some types of beer and cider in the supermarket, if you want to get anything else, you have to go to the government-owned store called Systembolaget - where they only sell alcohol to you if you're 20 or older.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
spacehamster at 5:56AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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In Switzerland it's 16 for beer and wine, 18 for hard liquor. In addition, there's a separate tax on so called “alcopops” to jack up the price as a deterrent for minors. The drinking age is generally not enforced particularly well - it's fairly easy for minors to buy alcohol here.

Generally, age limits are always somewhat problematic. Developmental psychology will tell you that while the maturing process generally takes place in the same stages in every individual, of course not everyone is at the exact same stage at the same age. For example, some people are perfectly well to handle the responsibilty of having access to alcohol at 14 or 15, others can't even handle it when they're 30. But just abolishing any and all age limits and allowing people to vote as soon as they're born also doesn't seem particularly reasonable. So you draw an arbitrary line that more or less seems to be the right ballpark number for most people.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
piraterpg at 10:04AM, Jan. 13, 2008
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I dont know, 16 seems reasonable to me. 18 for Hard alcohol also seems pretty fair. But what I dont get is why you may not drink in public. I mean if its a warm day, why should I not be allowed to go to the beach and enjoy a nice cold beer?

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:44PM
spacehamster at 10:23AM, Jan. 13, 2008
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piraterpg
But what I dont get is why you may not drink in public. I mean if its a warm day, why should I not be allowed to go to the beach and enjoy a nice cold beer?

I don't understand that either. It's legal here, and hanging out at the lake with a sixpack is a perfectly normal part of everyone's summer, so it's always a bit weird for me in the US.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
Croi Dhubh at 2:12PM, Jan. 13, 2008
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Depends on where you are. In Colorado, you can drink in public, like the Parks, as long as it is 3.2% beer. Hard liquor must be at the camp site only.

The reason they don't want people walking around with alcohol is to limit the potential of people being hit by cars and acting even more stupid in public. Some people will do this anyway, but prohibiting the consumption in a public place or being drunk in a public place greatly reduces this. Forcing people to stay inside ensures they are much more sober when in potentially dangerous areas, like a roadway or in the lake.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:54AM
PostulateMan at 9:07PM, Jan. 13, 2008
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In Saudi Arabia it is completely illegal. Most people make their own in their back yard and share with neighbors.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
gigatwo at 6:31AM, Jan. 14, 2008
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PostulateMan
In Saudi Arabia it is completely illegal. Most people make their own in their back yard and share with neighbors.

I used to live in Riyadh as a small child, and there was a family that helped us during a flash flood that turned out to be smuggling and dealing alcohol. They were actually murdered shortly after we returned to the US. Scary stuff.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:36PM
Hexe at 7:12AM, Jan. 14, 2008
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In finland:

18: you can drink and buy mild alcohol (beer, cider)

21: You can buy and drink Strong alcoholic drinks
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
piraterpg at 10:19AM, Jan. 16, 2008
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spacehamster
some people are perfectly well to handle the responsibilty of having access to alcohol at 14 or 15, others can't even handle it when they're 30. But just abolishing any and all age limits and allowing people to vote as soon as they're born also doesn't seem particularly reasonable. So you draw an arbitrary line that more or less seems to be the right ballpark number for most people.

I dont know how the discussion shifted to voting, voting implies that you have at least some idea why you are voting for a particular party. Personally I feel that the drinking age of 16 is reasonable.

How is it exactly they determine when you are ready for drinking? Is it in terms of biological development or in terms of psychological make up? Im pretty sure that most people die in accidents when drunk than die of actual alcohol poisoning (someone correct me if I am wrong).

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:44PM
spacehamster at 11:19AM, Jan. 16, 2008
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piraterpg
I dont know how the discussion shifted to voting, voting implies that you have at least some idea why you are voting for a particular party. Personally I feel that the drinking age of 16 is reasonable.

That was just another example of something that typically has an age limit of some sort attached to it, and just like drinking ages, it's arbitrary on some level, but you can't just not have an age limit at all either.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM

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