Here's a quick look at how not only the legal alcohol age, but also the culture and education on alcohol consumption vary from country to country.
In 2016, there were no age limits for on-site service and the purchase of alcohol outside the premises in 11 or 24 countries, according to the latest information from the World Health Organization.
On the other hand, "some countries have a total ban on alcohol, so it's not legal to sell to anyone," said Dag Rekve, researcher at the Department of Mental Health and Drug Abuse at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland.
"The age limit is 18 and 20, but there are a considerable number of countries that have over 21
." Said Rekve.
"So you have everything from a total ban, where nobody can buy or sell, to an age limit of 13 to 25 years, and then there are some countries that have no age limits, which is legal to sell to anyone" , he said.
However, in recent years, attention has focused more on how much alcohol young people drink, and not necessarily the age at which drinking begins.
Research indicates that the more alcohol consumed and the higher the prevalence of severe episodic alcohol use, the more economic wealth a country has.
Where drinking teenagers is highest and lowest
Binge or heavy episodic alcohol consumption can be measured as at least 60 grams of consumption or more pure alcohol on at least one occasion in the last 30 days. Worldwide, around 16% of 15-year-old and older alcoholics suffer from severe episodic alcohol use, according to the WHO.
"Ten grams of alcohol is a standard drink that is almost a bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a standard drink of ghosts," said Rekve. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a standard beverage containing 14 grams of pure alcohol.
The country with the highest percentage of 15 to 19-year-olds had a high alcohol consumption in 2016. In the last 30 days, Luxembourg was 54%, according to the WHO. Equatorial Guinea followed with 53.7% and then Lithuania with 53.2%.
In no other country were there more than half of the adolescents in this age group who had reported heavy alcohol consumption in recent years over the past 30 days.
Countries in which no 15- to 19-year-olds reported heavy drinking over the past 30 days were Mauritania, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
"Europe is generally very high, both for the adult population and for the 15- to 19- year ". Said Rekve. According to the WHO, more than one fifth of the European population (15 and older) reported heavy alcohol consumption at least once a week.
However, he added that in many European countries there has been a recent decline in alcohol consumption reflecting the number of young people who did not want to drink at all.
A study published in the BMC Public Health journal in October found that 29% of 16- to 24-year-olds in England did not drink in 2015, compared to 18%. in 2005.
A WHO report published in September found that it was the case in all 15 countries European countries and regions, more than 1 in 5 15-year-old girls said they drank weekly, with the highest prevalence in England Scotland, Malta and Denmark. By 2014, however, only Malta had a prevalence of more than 20%.
More than one in five boys in 15 European countries and regions gave weekly alcohol consumption among 15-year-old boys, with Malta, Denmark and England having the highest prevalence, and Wales. However, by 2014, only nine countries and regions had a prevalence of more than 20%, with the highest prevalence in Croatia, Malta and Italy, according to the report.
In the United States, the rate of alcohol consumption among teenagers has been on the decline.
In the last month, consumption of alcohol was reported by 8.2%, 18.6% and 30.2% of students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grade last month, according to a report named "Monitoring the Future" by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research in December.
These percentages were down from 2013 when they were reported by 10.2%, 25.7% and 39.2% respectively of 8th, 10th and 12th grade students.
Overall, the percentage of teens in America who reported that alcohol consumption had fallen as much as 58% from its peak in 1994.
"Even parents are alcohol tolerant, and in many cases, they may even supply the alcohol for parties they hold in their hands, with the feeling of what harm is there to make teens drink when they are home ? "said Nora Volkov, director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which funded the report.
"So we have a culture of drinking that is very accepted, but is slowly changing, and I think that changes in attitudes are partly responsible for why we see the decline," she said.
How heavy drinking can affect adolescent health
Studies have shown that some canned foods have no effect on your health, and alcohol intake can damage the body and brain, especially in young people. There is evidence that a strong alcohol exposure may be linked to brain damage and cognitive deficits, including memory problems.
During adolescence, the nerve cells in the brain grow and strengthen, and connections develop so that the brain can transmit information more quickly to the brain to process more complex thoughts. Research indicates that development occurs in brain regions associated with motivation, impulsivity and addiction during this time.
In general, excessive alcohol consumption is considered the leading risk factor for early death or disability in 15 to 49 years. Olds, said Rekve.
In other words, of all the factors that could increase the risk of death or disability – such as tobacco use or physical inactivity – too much alcohol consumption in 2016 was the main risk factor in this age group study published in The Lancet in August.
The study, which is based on an analysis of data for 195 countries and territories, found that alcohol consumption was associated with 3.8% of deaths in girls and women in this age group and 12.2% of deaths in boys and men of the same age group.
"At the same time, we know that nearly 60% of the world's population are not drinkers now 15 years and older, which means there could be many changes in the future, and we should be aware of that," said Rekve, referring In 2016, 57% of men and women worldwide reported that they did not drink alcohol in the last 12 months.
In September, WHO launched an initiative called SAFER in an effort to help governments around the world reduce the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
The initiative has five strategies: to adopt and enforce policies on alcohol, to promote and enforce measures to reduce alcohol consumption, to facilitate access to interventions or to address alcohol problems, to enforce restrictions on alcohol advertising and to consider Alcohol taxation and the pricing policy.
As the WHO says, drinking alcoholic beverages in many parts of the world is a big part of social gatherings and celebrations – but moderation remains the key.