Alcohol control policies vary immensely across nations and within. Yet, historically, age restrictions on alcohol purchase or consumption have been one of the most common prescriptions among countries for the prevention of alcoholism and the reduction of traffic fatalities on the road. These laws typically criminalize the purchase or consumption of alcoholic beverages by those under an explicit minimum age. Different age limits might apply to the location of sale or to the published alcohol content of a given beverage. Today nearly all countries have adopted some form of age restriction on the availability of alcohol within their borders—with most adopting age limits in the range of 16 to...
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... should question what purpose they do serve. Moreover, it is important that we are able to expand analysis of alcohol age control policies beyond the U.S., with its unique culture, so as to be able to predict whether minimum age limits will have the same or different impacts elsewhere. Ahlström and Österberg (2004/2005) highlight the importance of paying heed to cultural factors when considering alcohol policy: “If drinking habits are similar in two countries but people in one of those countries are significantly less likely to own a car, then the frequency of drunk driving and the proportion of alcohol related deaths among all traffic fatalities will differ greatly between the two countries” (p. 259). The focus of previous literature on North America may be yielding results and policy recommendations that are not particularly applicable to the rest of the globe.
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