Legal drinking age

  • minimum legal age to purchase alcohol by country (2015):
      prohibited regardless of age
      minimum age is 25
      minimum age is 21
      minimum age is 20
      minimum age is 19
      minimum age is 18
      minimum age is 17
      minimum age is 16
      minimum age is 15
      no regulation/no age set

    the legal drinking age is the minimum age at which a person can legally consume alcohol beverages. the minimum age alcohol can be legally consumed can be different from the age when it can be purchased in some countries. these laws vary between different countries and many laws have exemptions or special circumstances. most laws apply only to drinking alcohol in public places with alcohol consumption in the home being mostly unregulated (an exception being the uk, which has a minimum legal age of five for supervised consumption in private places). some countries also have different age limits for different types of alcohol drinks.[1]

    the most commonly known reason for the law behind the legal drinking age is the effect on the brain in adolescents. since the brain is still maturing, alcohol can have a negative effect on the memory and long-term thinking. alongside that, it can cause liver failure, and create a hormone imbalance in teens due to the constant changes and maturing of hormones during puberty.[2] young people are also especially at increased risk of injury when drinking alcohol.[3]

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  • americas
  • asia
  • europe
  • oceania
  • see also
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Minimum legal age to purchase alcohol by country (2015):
  Prohibited regardless of age
  Minimum age is 25
  Minimum age is 21
  Minimum age is 20
  Minimum age is 19
  Minimum age is 18
  Minimum age is 17
  Minimum age is 16
  Minimum age is 15
  No regulation/no age set

The legal drinking age is the minimum age at which a person can legally consume alcohol beverages. The minimum age alcohol can be legally consumed can be different from the age when it can be purchased in some countries. These laws vary between different countries and many laws have exemptions or special circumstances. Most laws apply only to drinking alcohol in public places with alcohol consumption in the home being mostly unregulated (an exception being the UK, which has a minimum legal age of five for supervised consumption in private places). Some countries also have different age limits for different types of alcohol drinks.[1]

The most commonly known reason for the law behind the legal drinking age is the effect on the brain in adolescents. Since the brain is still maturing, alcohol can have a negative effect on the memory and long-term thinking. Alongside that, it can cause liver failure, and create a hormone imbalance in teens due to the constant changes and maturing of hormones during puberty.[2] Young people are also especially at increased risk of injury when drinking alcohol.[3]