Alcohol age is the legal drinking age by which an individual can purchase and drink alcoholic beverages.
There are a variety of laws from different countries that prescribe not only the legal drinking age or the minimum age by which alcohol can be consumed, but also restrictions on drinking of alcohol in public places. Some countries, such as Islamic nations, even prohibit drinking of alcohol at any age. There are also laws which restrict the presence of minors or those below the legal drinking age in stores or bars where alcoholic beverages are sold and served.
Minimum legal drinking age or alcohol age varies from each country while United Kingdom is the only country that imposes a minimum legal age for consuming alcohol domestically to its population. This country disallows drinking below the age of six at home.
When is the right time to drink alcohol?
The mean minimum legal drinking age all over the world is 15.9 but most of the countries have set a ceiling of 18 years old as the start of the drinking age.
About 50 countries have minimum age or alcohol age lower than 18 while 12 countries have minimum drinking age higher than 18.
Enforcement of laws for alcohol age also differs among countries and enforcement usually starts after abuse and when drinking individual develops behavioral problems.
An international survey gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the average age for a person to start drinking alcoholic beverages at 12 while the age of those who start regular alcohol drinks is pegged at 15 and even younger.
Countries such as Kazakhstan, Oman, Indonesia, Pakistan, Palau, Sri Lanka and predominantly in the US impose a minimum legal drinking age of 21. However, even if the minimum drinking age in the US is 21, people can legally drink alcoholic beverages even when below 21 years of age due to different circumstances.
National Minimum Drinking Age Act
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act established in 1984 in the US increased the minimum purchasing and public possession of alcohol age in the US to 21.
Restrictions to this law include those participating in an established religious custom but they should be accompanied by related person older than 21, those who need the liquor for medical purposes as prescribed by a licensed physician, those in private clubs or facilities and those who are employed lawfully by a licensed manufacturer, retailer or wholesaler.
There are American states that prohibit consumption of alcohol for those who are below 21 but this is also supported by many exceptions such as those for education purposes e.g. students of culinary schools, religious purposes, and medical purposes.