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To wonder what the rationale is behind waiting til 21 to buy alcohol

(25 Posts)
LaurieFairyCake Thu 20-Nov-14 19:47:36

What is that about confused

Is it some hangover from another era ?

You can join the military, have a proper job, get married, drive etc but no alcohol

pookamoo Thu 20-Nov-14 19:49:38

It's 18 in the UK...

ThatDamnedBitch Thu 20-Nov-14 19:49:59

Where? Some states in the US it's law, but not in the UK.

pookamoo Thu 20-Nov-14 19:50:01

i.e. when you are an adult.

thesmallbear Thu 20-Nov-14 19:50:16

Eh? You can drink when you're 18.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 20-Nov-14 19:50:58

I meant the U.S. (I'm watching tv) grin

lljkk Thu 20-Nov-14 19:53:09

Temperance movement, Methodism, completely dry counties in some areas being dragged into the 20th century, compromise between those ideals & modern era forces. But especially Methodism.
Or you can google it to get better info.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 20-Nov-14 20:21:03

I've googled and getting all sorts of info - that the voting age was lowered because of being aged to fight in a war and then the drinking age fell to 18 too.

But then there was a campaign by 'mothers against drunk driving' and it started to rise again.

So it was 18 and now back up to 21, which of course is stupid.

peachgirl Thu 20-Nov-14 21:30:44

It seems pretty ridiculous that someone can legally vote and die for their country in war, but not have a glass of wine or beer with their food.

I think it backfires in a way - from what I and friends have observed doing exchanges abroad, and being around students from the USA and other while on exchange, it seems to create a pretty immature attitude to alcohol. 19 year-olds in the USA are treated like 16 year-olds in the UK with regards to alcohol, and I think as a result a lot of people in their early 20s in the USA act like 17 or 18 year-olds in the UK when they do finally get to drink legally.

We had family from the US visit us, and there was such.a.big.deal. made about their oldest son having a pint of beer in the pub (aged 18); his parents were seriously debating and going "oohhh, I don't know", all the while I wanted to say "by UK law it's not your choice!"... I apologise if this is starting to sound USA-bashing; my bashing is meant to be for the legislation and those living in fear of letting an U21 have a beer, rather than the American people generally.

Interestingly, in Switzerland, people are allowed to drink beer, cider or wine from the age of 16. Hard spirits are only for those 18 or over.

ShowMeYourTARDIS Thu 20-Nov-14 23:45:55

It may be illegal for under-21s to buy alcohol, but they have no issues obtaining it, believe me. I think it makes drinking into a much bigger thing than it actually is.

I think it should be 18.

ThatDamnedBitch
It's 21 in every state.

confuddledDOTcom Fri 21-Nov-14 00:01:16

You can drink when you're 5, you can't buy alcohol until you're 18 (in the UK at least)

AuntieStella Fri 21-Nov-14 00:01:41

As those debating parents (cited by op) make clear, having a higher legal age changes the social expectations, so the age people actually start drinking (typically below the legal purchase age) is somewhat higher.

Breaking the idea that you need alcohol to have a good time, and reducing consumption generally, are probably a good idea.

We have an age of 18, and many mid-teens who drink, some a lot. They have an age of 21, and probably a start drinking age of about 18.

syne Fri 21-Nov-14 00:38:30

'They have an age of 21, and probably a start drinking age of about 18.'

Just wrong,
kids in the us are much the same as kids here, some drink do drugs at all kinds of ages and some don't.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 21-Nov-14 00:41:55

I live in Canada and in some areas US teens come across the border, get drunk and get into fights. If they can get in a car, drive over an international border with their ID, drink and go home, it really is a little silly to stop them buying beer at home.

caroldecker Fri 21-Nov-14 00:57:51

this is why all states have the law

wobblyweebles Fri 21-Nov-14 02:56:12

To quote: A 2014 review found that the under-21 law has reduced "alcohol-related traffic crashes and alcohol consumption among youths", as well as protected youths from adverse health outcomes they might experience as adults, including "alcohol and other drug dependence, adverse birth outcomes, and suicide and homicide."

Darkandstormynight Fri 21-Nov-14 03:04:13

We're in the US and I have no problem with the law at all. I can't drink (migraines) and dh doesn't drink much any more because he gets hangovers from even one drink. But when we did, we drank responsibly at dinners, etc. in front of ds and we just stress moderation.

It does irk me though that ds can be drafted but not have a drink. IMO they should raise the draft age then to 21. It does help stop alcohol related driving accidents and that's just fine with me.

Bulbasaur Fri 21-Nov-14 03:11:15

Problem is, if we change it back to 18, we are going to have weeks of 18 year olds being stupid at bars and binge drinking. America doesn't really have a healthy relationship with alcohol anyway. Our culture frowns on drunkenness, while yours is more accepting of it. Attitudes here are "don't drink" not "drink in moderation". So people that do drink drink in excess, people that don't don't really drink at all except for a glass of wine at holidays.

Because of this, lowering the age of consumption and making it easily accessible to kids will only make things worse as far as drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and general drunken injuries go.

claraschu Fri 21-Nov-14 03:19:13

If the law delays kids' irresponsible drinking by a few years, surely that is a good thing.

butterfliesinmytummy Fri 21-Nov-14 03:26:37

It does seem to work in the USA as its one law that seems to be enforced and respected. I know plenty of people in the UK who let 14 year olds drink, teens hanging out in playparks in the evening with alcopops etc but here (Texas), none of the 19/20 year olds I know will have a drink. You need to be 21 to possess alcohol too so you can't even hold a bottle of beer for an over 21.... Laws regarding open carry of alcohol (driving with an open bottle in the car) are enforced and spirits are not sold in supermarkets here, only in "off licenses" where under 21s are not admitted. Some bars have a policy of ID-ing anyone under 35.....

Mind you, tackling a 10 lane highway alongside 18 wheelers at 70 mph stone cold sober is difficult enough, it's no wonder they want to stop teens drink driving.

ShowMeYourTARDIS Fri 21-Nov-14 03:46:26

All kinds of alcohol are sold at supermarkets here. I could walk down to the local grocery store and buy half a gallon of cheap vodka if I wanted.

HellKitty Fri 21-Nov-14 04:12:41

UK here. We do have the 'Think 21' rule where you have to look over 21 to buy alcohol, tobacco or gamble. If you look younger than you need ID to prove you're 18+

I knew about the gambling and alcohol rule but was stopped from buying tobacco and asked for ID - I'm forty-fucking-six!!! But I had a hat on, took it off and I passed so I must look ancient without a hat grin

Fabulassie Fri 21-Nov-14 06:00:13

Americans often look to Europe for a sophisticated alcohol culture, bemoaning the binge drink culture of the States. But the UK is not like France or Italy. It's more like the US. I think I read that the per capita consumption is about the same, but the UK is more open about it. It just seems that Brits drink much more because of the throngs of people staggering around the town centres every weekend night. And younger people will brag about how shitfaced they got and how hung over they are on Monday morning at work. I and a number of other expats have noted that our own drinking flies under the radar here.

Raising the drinking age really has lessened the number of alcohol related deaths in the US. Remember that driving is much more common for young Americans. The vast majority of 18 year olds have drivers licenses and cars.

NotCitrus Fri 21-Nov-14 06:02:03

In most of the US, all 18yos and many younger teens are driving. Banning alcoholuntil 21 was to get rid of drunk driving - the UK has gone instead with making it much harder to get a driving licence.
Many US states were 18 and while the Federal Government couldn't make them put it up to 21, it did refuse to give funds for highways to states with a younger drinking age. So now I think all are 21, though a couple states held out until recently.

SanityClause Fri 21-Nov-14 06:54:51

I don't think we (in the UK) should criticise any other country's alcohol policies. It's not like we have got it right.

(I'm not suggesting you are criticising, OP.)

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