Differences in drinking laws

Differences in drinking laws

Most countries have a legal drinking age set by their government. This age and the laws vary from country to country, but some of the reasons behind these laws are still the same: to promote safety while drinking at a mature level and prevent children from having access to alcohol. The most common drinking age is 18;Fact|date=May 2008 however, some countries allow drinking as young as 5 (United Kingdom only in a private home with parental consent, otherwise 18 with some minor exceptions for a small glass of beer or cider with parental and establishment consent) and as old as 21 (United States, Fiji).Fact|date=May 2008 Some countries do not have drinking laws (Norway, Greece, Italy) and other countries accept alcohol as illegal (Saudi Arabia).Fact|date=May 2008 These drinking laws also vary by purchasing age and consuming age. Generally, the consumption age is younger than the purchase age.Fact|date=May 2008

Impact of alcohol consumption

As with any substance that has a likelihood of being abused, alcohol consumption has social and health costs. Misuse can lead to inappropriate behaviors,specify|date=May 2008 diseases of the respiratory system, accidents caused by fire, drowning, suicides, and homicides. [http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k2/AlcBinge/AlcBinge.htm Binge Drinking Among Underage Persons ] ] Like the drinking laws, deaths caused by alcohol consumption vary from country to country. The following table represents a few countries’ death rates and amount of alcohol consumption from each of the different drinking ages:

Alcohol consumption also increases tax revenues, has some health benefits, as well as enjoyment that the responsible consumption brings to adults.

The above table shows that just because there may be no laws or a younger legal age to consume alcohol does not necessarily mean that there will be more deaths occurring. In fact, the table shows that those countries without a legal drinking age have lower death rates than those with a higher drinking age. Underage drinkers are more likely the ones to consume alcohol in a way that is immature or heavily, also known as “binge” drinking, which causes more deaths than a drink or two in a controlled environment. [ [http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/articles/fruit.html Forbidden Fruit: reasons why drinking age should be lowered based on research Dr. Ruth Engs ] ]

These issues can be seen as a way to rebel or be shown as a symbol of adulthood. In the countries with no legal drinking age or younger drinking ages alcohol can be seen as normal, and therefore can be done in an appropriate manner. Some arguments state that normalizing alcohol will decrease death rates, binge drinking, and underage drinking. Specifically, the United States government labels alcohol in the same category as drugs, which could lead to the actual use of drugs. [ [http://www.who.int/en/ WHO | World Health Organization ] ]

The following table represents the percentage of those age 12-20 who illegally binge drink. [http://www.diageo.com/en-row/CorporateCitizenship/Theimpactofalcoholinsociety/ The impact of alcohol in society ] ]

Advertisements targeting teens

There have been several disputes over whether alcohol advertisements are targeting teens. There happens to be heavy amounts of alcohol advertising that appears to make drinking fun and exciting. Alcohol advertisements can be seen virtually anywhere, they are especially known for sponsoring sporting events, concerts, magazines, and they are found anywhere on the internet. Most of the vendors’ websites require an age of 21 to enter, but there is no restriction besides simply entering a birth date. With the catchy slogans, the idea that drinking is trendy, and no mention of the negative side of excessive use, this issue could be very harmful. On the other hand, vendors do not see their ads as a target for teens, and claim they should not be held responsible if they indirectly target minors. Their argument is that companies and businesses rely heavily upon advertising and they cannot help it if minors see these advertisements. Ironically, vendors also invest money in alcohol prevention and awareness programs each year.Fact|date=May 2008

Prevention and awareness

Many countries such as Australia, Europe, Spain, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States are prevalent for binge drinking.Fact|date=May 2008 However, they are trying to conquer this problem by raising money and promoting programs to help decrease binge drinking as well as underage drinking.

ee also

* Binge drinking
* Legal drinking age


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