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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Explained: The minimum legal drinking age in some countries across the world

The Haryana government’s reasoning for bringing down the age to 21 is that “many of the other states have prescribed lower age limits.”

By: Explained Desk |
Updated: December 23, 2021 6:58:52 pm
The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), 2020 compiled country-wise information on the MLDA.

The Haryana government has amended its Excise Act, reducing the legal age to purchase, sell or consume liquor from 25 years to 21 years. An Amendment Bill with regard to changing the age limit was passed in the Vidhan Sabha on the concluding day of the winter session on Wednesday (December 22).

The government’s reasoning for bringing down the age to 21 is that “many of the other states have prescribed lower age limits”.

Here’s a look at the legal drinking age around the world:

The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), 2020 compiled country-wise information on the MLDA. Below are some countries’ MLDAs.

Afghanistan: Sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Australia: While the rule on consumption of alcohol varies across jurisdictions, those who are 18 are allowed the on-premise and off-premise sale of liquor. There also may be exceptions in some cases when minors are accompanied by adults.

Bangladesh: The off and on premise sale of liquor is prohibited in the country for all age groups, unless the person has a permit from the Department of Narcotics Control. Muslims can only obtain a permit for medical reasons.

Canada: Drinking by minors under adult supervision is permitted in licensed premises in Manitoba and New Brunswick and at home in Prince Edward Island, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan, the IARD says.

Egypt: On and off premise sale of alcohol is allowed by those who are 18 and over.

Germany: 16 for beer and wine (14 if accompanied by parent or guardian) and 18 years of age for spirits. Those below 18 years of age are not permitted in premises licensed as bars, nightclubs and similar entertainment venues.

India: The minimum age for purchasing alcohol is 18 in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim, and Puducherry.

21 years in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Orissa (Odisha), Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, 25 (now 21 years) in Haryana, Meghalaya, Punjab, Delhi

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Sale of alcohol is prohibited in states including Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep.

Iran: Sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Kuwait: Sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Libya: Sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Malaysia: The sale of alcohol to Muslims is prohibited, the legal age is 21 years for non-Muslims for on and off premise sale of alcohol.

Saudi Arabia: Sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Sri Lanka: On and off premise sale of alcohol is permissible to those 21 years and older.

UAE: The sale, supply and consumption are prohibited in Sharjah. In other places, the age limit is 21 years.

US: The minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) in the US is 21 years. Prior to the enactment of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, the legal age when alcohol could be purchased was different for different states.

UK: In the UK, a person can be stopped, fined or arrested by the police if they are under the age of 18 and drinking alcohol in public. However, if a person is 16 or 17 and accompanied by an adult, drinking wine, beer or cider with a meal is permissible, but buying is not. Broadly, for a person who is less than 18 years of age, it is against the law to sell him or her alcohol, to buy or try to buy alcohol, for an adult to buy or try to buy alcohol for him or her and to drink alcohol in licensed premises (such as a pub or restaurant).

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