Study Finds Legal Drinking Age Saves Lives: 21 Minimum Ages To Booze Around The World

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If you're under 21 in the United States, chances are you have your frustrations with our country's drinking age minimum. After all, as many a teen has drunkenly slurred, if you can fight in a war at 18, why not be able to get trashed? Well, because you're probably more likely to die in an accident from drinking at that age — or accidentally kill other people. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die every year from unintentional injuries, homicides, and suicides related to drinking. The review, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, finds that were the drinking age even lower, fatalities would be even higher. 

Of course, the drinking age used to be 18 in the United States. But since the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 passed, all U.S. states are required to prohibit individuals under the age of 21 from purchasing or publicly possessing alcoholic beverages. 

But not all countries party by such strict rules. While most of the world tends to prefer a drinking age of 18, there are a few other unusual outliers when it comes to regulating alcohol. Click on to find out who they are. 

Cuba

Minimum Drinking Age: None

Minimum Purchase Age: 18

Viva La Revolución.  

The UK

Minimum Drinking Age: Zero (with medical supervision, apparently); Five (on private premises); 16 with a meal on licensed premises;18 unrestricted.

Minimum Purchase Age: 16 with a meal in Scotland;16 in liqueur chocolates; 18 otherwise. 

Right, then.

Afghanistan

Minimum Drinking Age: Never

Drinking is illegal here.

Germany

Minimum Drinking Age: 14 (With permission of legal guardian.) 

Minimum Purchase Age: 16 for wine and beer, 18 for spirits.


Denmark

Minimum Drinking Age: 18 (If you want to be served at bars.)

Purchase Age: 16

Gotta keep warm somehow.

Finland

Minimum Drinking Age: 18 for possession and purchase of 1.2–22 percent alcohol by volume (ABV); 20 for possession and purchase of 23–80 percent ABV;18 for all in bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Right then, very precise. 

Saudi Arabia

Drinking Age: Never

Yup, drinking is illegal here. 

Sweden

Minimum Drinking Age: None, when drinking is supervised in private “in moderation,” or alcohol content (ABV) is less than 2.25 percent.

Age of Purchase: 18 (bars and restaurants); 18 (for 2.25–3.5 percent ABV in food shops); 20 (everything else).

Socialist democracies sure know how to make their rules. 

Poland

Minimum Drinking Age: None

Minimum Purchase Age: 18

Romania

Minimum Drinking Age: None

Minimum Purchase Age: 18

Yemen

Minimum Drinking Age: Never

Drinking is illegal here.


Norway

Minimum Drinking Age: None

Minimum Purchase Age: 18 (<22 percent), 20 (≥22 percent ABV)

Cambodia

Minimum Drinking and Purchase Age: None


Palestine

Minimum Drinking and Purchase Age: 16

Vietnam

Minimum Drinking Age: None

Minimum Purchase Age: 18

Bangladesh

Minimum Drinking Age: Never

Drinking is illegal here.

Macau

Minimum Drinking and Purchase Age: None

Morocco

Minimum Drinking Age: None

Minimum Purchase Age: 16

Jamaica

Minimum Drinking Age: None

Minimum Purchase Age: 18

Sudan

Minimum Drinking and Purchase Age: Never

Drinking is illegal here.

Russia

Minimum Drinking Age: None (Like, Da.)

Minimum Purchase Age: 18