Why do we need age limits?
The human brain is still in the process of development until the age of 18 or 19, and it may be more susceptible to damage than the adult brain. In adolescents who regularly drink alcohol, parts of the brain important in planning and emotional control have been found to be smaller than expected.
Drinking 8-10 units of alcohol per day over extended time periods results in some mental inefficiency: at 11-14 units per day, deficits (reduced brain capacity) are present; at 18 or more units per day, harm can be of the severity seen in someone diagnosed with alcoholism.
Over the age of 65, performance of mental tasks declines less slowly in light and moderate drinkers. However, light and moderate drinking (defined as an occasional 1-2 units) is often associated with other factors which reduce mental decline, such as physical and social activity, a good diet, and better socio-economic status.
At advanced age, in residential community homes, a ‘social hour’ with a unit of alcohol at bedtime, has been shown to improve mental well–being. On the other hand, alcohol is also responsible for falls in the elderly because it affects balance.
At 14 you can go into a pub that has a children’s certificate, accompanied by an adult. However, you can’t drink alcohol and must stay in the garden or family room.
At 15, you can go into a pub if accompanied by an adult, but cannot drink alcohol.
At 16 or 17, and accompanied by an adult, you can drink beer, wine or cider with a table meal, but you are not allowed to buy alcohol. It’s illegal for children under five to drink alcohol. It is illegal for children under 5 to drink alcohol.
Between 5 and18, you can legally drink alcohol at home, at a friend’s house or on other private premises.
Selling alcohol to someone under 18 can lead to a maximum fine of £10,000 for bar staff/managers and shop keepers.
It is against the law to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18 unless in licensed premises.