PUBLIC OPINION > Change the Drinking Age

News 2011/11/17 17:00:00
Just yesterday, we posted a question about the legal drinking age, which was spurred by recent studies that seemed to suggest the drinking age affects homicide and suicide rates. According to the study, women who turned 18 between 1967 and 1989 (when the drinking age was 18) were at greater risk of committing suicide or homicide.

Of course, the correlation could be pure coincidence -- the difference was only by about 15 percent, and there were a couple of other things going on in the nation during that time. But it was a good excuse to rekindle the discussion and ask SodaHeads what they thought about the issue. We even had a chance to hear from some voters in the U.K., where the drinking age is already 18.

Should America's Legal Drinking Age Remain at 21?

53% Say Change the Age

After a few hundred votes, respondents favored a new drinking age by about 6%. Since the votes are still coming in, and the number is well within the margin of error, let's just call it a tie. To be clear, most respondents who voted to change the drinking age felt the drinking age should be lowered to 18, on the grounds that 18-year-olds are legal adults. The top comment read, "At 18 you can smoke, get a gun license, and join the military, but you're not old enough to drink?"

The Affected Age

Wouldn't you know it, younger voters think the drinking age should change. Voters within the "questionable" age range (18-24) were most likely to advocate a new drinking age, with 71% of them in favor of a change; voters in their 50s and 60s were directly opposed, with only 27% in favor of changing the law.

Brits and Boozing

In the U.K. (and much of the world) the drinking age is 18, and they seem to be pretty happy with it -- two-thirds of the British vote suggested America change the law. However, there was some disagreement among British voters, as well. One simply warned, "Here in the UK it's 18 years of age... Too many binge drinkers."

Drinkers on Juvies

Whatever the drinking age, not everyone will end up "a drinker," so it's important to differentiate between the drinking vote and the non-drinking vote. Drinkers were 17% more likely than non-drinkers to support changing the drinking age -- far less significant than the age difference.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our original poll about America's drinking age. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • strawberry 2011/11/17 07:12:42
    I don't see any difference between ages 18 or 21 for drinking alcohol. People who drink will drink no matter what age. Once someone reaches teenage years it is difficult to change their habits. They have either matured through growing stages or did not mature.

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  • Gerald 2013/07/10 08:09:51
    Constitutionally speaking, I don't even understand HOW it's legal, to tell an 18, 19, 20yo ADULT, that he/she can't drink alcohol. Age discrimination is a direct violation of civil rights & people age 18-20 are legally considered "adults'. An adult is an adult. How can you say that this adult can drink, but this adult can't? How can you ban 18-20yo adults from drinking alcohol, but hold time legally responsible for their actions? (as adults). Should 18-20yos be considered "juvies"/youthful offenders? From a legal standpoint, I just never understood the whole thing. Just out of curiously, could they ban say....anyone born in April from drinking, or anybody born on the 3rd Wednesday of any month (regardless of their age) from drinking? Could they ban only 37yos, 72yos or whatever, from drinking? If they can ban 1 group of adults, it seems they could ban ANY. I just don't get it.
  • Ant 2013/07/10 01:08:17
    Anyone that knows the death toll of drinking and is sane would not want to lower the drinking age. They'd want to make alcohol illegal like other dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Just saying.
  • robert.haile.37 2013/04/09 04:27:43
    No. Under 21 should not go to war either. Statistics for young drivers and young drunk drivers reveal very high morbidity and mortality.
  • siliva siania 2012/09/12 00:56:33
  • lisa.goike 2012/01/25 10:24:24
    keep it at 21, so many kids go nuts with the alcohol when they get their freedom, the more mature the better
  • siliva ... lisa.goike 2012/09/12 00:58:39
    siliva siania
    i agree with you, 21 is better
  • Woots 2011/12/16 00:23:54
    Keep it at 21.
  • freedomspeaks 2011/12/01 00:02:53
    Lower it -all you people wanting to raise it or keep it the same were all drinking at 18-it is unconstitutional to discriminate against people who are not minors -can be charged with all kinds of crimes-go to war-get married etc. Time to start getting our rights back that this country is so willing to strip us of.
  • Ant freedom... 2013/07/10 01:11:34
    I did not drink alcohol when I was 18 and I've never been drunk or high or buzzed a day in my life. I'd prohibit alcohol if I could. It's just too dangerous.
  • Cora 2011/11/29 00:59:30
    No! Do not change the drinking age.
  • snowleopard09 2011/11/25 05:35:19
    I have a friend from Germany where the drinking age is 16 for beer. She told me that they don't have nearly as much of a problem with alcohol abuse as we do here, and as somebody pointed out in another comment, part of it may be the fact that there is an aspect of mystery to what is "forbidden". If we lower the drinking age back to 18 (maybe even 16), then a lot of the mystery is taken away from younger people, and alcohol becomes nothing more than a drink (that obviously requires responsibility). Remember that people will find ways to get what they want no matter what.
  • NYC Firedog 2011/11/23 19:18:26
    NYC Firedog
    I'd trade them the drinking age lowered for raising the voting age to 25 when fhey're not nearly as stupid.
  • NYC Fir... NYC Fir... 2011/11/23 19:21:01
    NYC Firedog
    Men and women serving in Uniform get a waiver and can vote AND drink. OSW Punks Get moved to 30.
  • the boss 2011/11/22 20:46:22
    the boss
    if anything i say we rise it to 25
  • DeanoBeany 2011/11/22 19:01:54
  • pitchergrl1 2011/11/22 18:42:02
    IS it that big of a differnce? people do it anyways, which isnt to good. but still. when u trun 18 in the US ur an adult, and drinking is an Adult thing so, if the age is changed, they better be careful
  • FedUpInWisconsin 2011/11/22 16:28:14
  • colton delaney 2011/11/22 15:50:05
    colton delaney
    An 18 year old is considered an adult in the united states, which means they should be afforded all the rights and priviledges of an adult. 18 year olds suffer adult consequences for their behaviour, they can vote , and at the heart of this issue is the fact that an 18 year old can fight and die for their country in war. They should be able to drink period.
  • NYC Fir... colton ... 2011/11/23 19:23:00
    NYC Firedog
    Then WHY do they stay on mommy and Daddy's Medical plan until 26?
  • freedom... NYC Fir... 2011/12/01 00:05:13
    OK so you drank when you were 18 and we all somehow survived........
  • NYC Fir... freedom... 2011/12/01 01:31:51
    NYC Firedog
    By luck. Back then driving and drinking was normal. 18, 19 year old guys are notorious knuckleheads.

    At least today' most people are a lot more aware, and the cops really push DWI arrests which keeps knuckleheads like me and my buddies were in check.

    But I still say men and women in Uniform deserve the right to drink at 18.

    I believe the vote should be moved back to 21. It might have saved us from Obama.
  • Anna Syn 2011/11/22 12:28:17 (edited)
    Anna Syn
    It should remain at 21 and the rule should be enforced to the T!

    I went to Utah with my ex-husband to visit his family for the first time while we were dating while there I watched as his mother provided his 12 year old sister with booze (she drank 1 bottle of rum, a bottle of tequila, and a bottle of vodka by herself in a weeks time) on top of that the mother supplied the 12 years friends with alcohol while I was there.

    The first day that I was there (I was 17 at the time) she asked me if I wanted anything from the ABC store!

    When you as a parent or adult encourage a teen to drink you are setting them up to abuse alcohol when they are older, maybe you might get lucky and they tire of drinking before they are 21 but most do not because they see it as a rite of passage so the age of 21 for drinking should stay!
  • DeanoBeany Anna Syn 2011/11/22 19:05:28
    Here's an idea, let's change it to 18, and not 12? I don't get what point you were trying to make. It seems to me your ex husbands mother was being a TERRIBLE legal guardian to that 12 year old girl, and whether the legal age was 16, 18, 21 or 45, they will always exist. People under 21 drink anyway, why put so much effort into enforcing it? old enough to vote and die for your country, you're old enough to choose what goes into your own body, be it heroin, tobacco, alcohol or tattoo/piercing. The government should stay the hell out
  • freedom... Anna Syn 2011/12/01 00:06:42
    A crazy woman giving a 12 year old drinks is no argument for not allowing an 18 year old to have a drink without the fear of being arrested!
  • RobertRowe 2011/11/22 01:06:03 (edited)
    if you're old enough for government to send you to war then you're old enough for coors light
  • Watermusicranger 2011/11/22 00:45:17 (edited)
    21 unless you are in the active military. The the Date of Active Military Service is good to me which is an earned privilege. Which ever becomes first. Soldier Drinking a beer
  • NYC Fir... Watermu... 2011/11/23 19:25:44
    NYC Firedog
    I was proofed in my Army Uniform when I was 17, and the drinking age was 18. I told the bartender "So I can fight for my country!!! And I can't DRINK in it"?

    So I'm in full agreement with you.
  • hayesml47 2011/11/22 00:07:52
    It is as good an age as any!
  • beck 2011/11/21 21:25:24
    teens are going to find a way to get drinks anyway. believe me, that "age restriction" is worth nothing.
  • freedom... beck 2011/12/01 00:08:53
    Its worth something when they get arrested at college and get kicked out of school! Apathy gets you no where-fight to get the age changed to 18.
  • zkittle06 2011/11/21 17:59:33
    I say change it. And accept your children ARE going to drink, just make sure they are responsible about it.
  • rhaver1 2011/11/21 17:33:07
    Either raise the age of adulthood, or lower the age of drinking, otherwise 18 year olds shouldn't be considered adults, nor should they be in the military. Our Government shouldn't be able to have both.
  • hunter 44 2011/11/21 17:32:41
    hunter 44
    It needs changed to 35. The age when all Rights are granted.
  • AndyWolf 2011/11/21 17:19:57
    I think it should remain 21, unless you are in the military. Earned privilege.
  • Apache 2011/11/21 16:03:04
  • harley oldman 2011/11/21 15:51:15
    harley oldman
    When I was a Kid in South Louisiana if you could stand flat footed and reach high enough to put your money on the Bar, You could buy a Beer......Then in my later teens the drinking age was 18. I`m not sure what it is now.
  • Deathman 2011/11/21 12:42:45
    Drinking beer is not the most dangerous thing you can do. People who want to drink will always find a way
  • jams 2011/11/21 12:41:48
    It should be 18. So should driving.
  • viper4358 2011/11/21 08:44:18
    If you are old enough to vote or join the military you should be old enough legally to drink.
  • USAF Vet 2011/11/21 05:10:17
    USAF Vet
    What would be the desired age for the following:

    1. Purchasing an abortion
    2. Purchasing 'medical' marijuana
    3. Purchasing spray paint
    4. Purchasing anything over the internet
    5. Running for Congress?
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