Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 2 years ago

When are you officially an adult? 18 or 21?

I’m 18, but I don’t even feel like an adult. How can I be an adult if I can’t make my own decision on whether or not to drink or smoke? (Smoking age is 21 in my state). If they can baby us by stopping us from smoking and drinking because it’s bad for you, can they also dictate how many cookies you have for dessert or how much soda you drink a day? It’s stupid. Anyway, when are you really an adult?

10 Answers

  • Clive
    Lv 7
    2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are different ages for different things. So what counts for being a legal adult and what age does THAT happen at?

    What makes you an adult and no longer a child is the age of having "legal personality". That is, your parents are no longer responsible for you, you're your own independent person now, and you can sue or be sued. You have become a "legal entity" that isn't part of your parents any more. Yeah, you're an entity... don't blame me, it's the word that is used. Like a registered corporation is also an entity, something independent of the directors and stockholders, so it can go to court in its own name. So if you need to sue a corporation to get something put right, you can sue the corporation and not need to know who are the people behind it.

    So you can enter into contracts in your own right without having a parent co-sign, banks will let you borrow money because now they can sue you if you don't make repayments, hotels will let you stay there because they can sue you if you don't pay the bill, etc. And usually that's 18, though I think there are one or two US states where it isn't.

    Anything else CAN be set at a different age. Like for you with drinking and smoking. Actually the reason the drinking age is 21 in the USA is not because of health, it's because Mothers Against Drunk Drivers campaigned to have it raised because of so many road deaths being caused by young irresponsible drivers who'd been drinking, Congress listened, and while it can't make state law, it enacted that no state that doesn't put the age up to 21 will get any federal highway funding... so of course they all did so they'd still get the money. I think that's MADD because it hits all young people, even those who don't drive, so it could have been done another way, but Congress didn't do it another way.

    On that one, I'm British, the age of legal majority is also 18, we can buy alcohol, drink in public and smoke at 18, and a few years ago Parliament dealt with the same question through penalty points. To set the scene, we have a system where if you commit a driving offence, along with the sentence you get penalty points, and if you get to 12 points within 3 years, that's an automatic driving ban for however long the court decides. But if you passed the driving test less than 2 years ago, you get banned when you tot up 6 points, AND you have to sit the test again to get your licence back afterwards. How does that sound? To give an idea of the scale, you normally get 3 points for getting caught breaking the speed limit, and when some years ago I fell asleep at the wheel and crashed (nobody was hurt except me!), I got a £400 fine plus 6 points for "driving without due care and attention".

    For some more, the age of consent for sex in the UK is 16, so you can also get married at 16 with parental permission or at 18 without it. You can drive a car at 17, but the most powerful motorbikes or a truck not until 21. Smoking age used to be 16 but our nannying Labour government a few years ago put it up to 18 (Labour love to be "nanny government"). You can actually drink in public at 16 (I remember when it was 14) provided someone over 18 buys it for you and it's to go with a sit-down meal.

    Cookies and soda... now that's another interesting one. What successive British governments have done with tobacco is put a very high tax on it to discourage smoking (you might be amazed at what I pay for a pack of cigarettes), alcoholic drinks are expensive for the same reason, and they recently imposed a "sugar tax" on fizzy drinks. The store might or might not pass that on. But I live next to a "posh" supermarket called Waitrose that likes to feel it's being responsible, and if I buy their own brand cola, a 2 litre bottle is £1.45 for the standard kind but £1.02 for the diet version - it used to be the same price for both but that changed exactly when the new tax started. As it happens, I've got used to diet cola and the version with sugar in tastes too sweet to me now.

    Same when the Conservatives thought about all that plastic being used to provide free carrier bags - so they put a 5p levy on them. The effect was amazing. People immediately learned to take their own bags to avoid the tax Taxing things you disapprove of can be a more useful thing to do than just banning them.

    But I digress... to get back to the point, when you're an adult is when you're legally your own person and not just an appendage of your parents.

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    There is no definitive answer.

    For having sex and being tried as an adult for crimes, it is usually 16-17.

    For voting and being able to ruin your life in most ways, 18.

    For pretty much every adult right, 21.

    I think 21, because at 21 you are no longer a teenager and at 18 you still are.

  • 2 years ago

    Neither the consumption of cookies or soda will impair your judgement to the point you get in a vehicle and kill other people. You may not care but those of us you may kill are a little sensative about it.

  • 2 years ago

    Legally, 18

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  • blank
    Lv 6
    2 years ago

    18 is generally accepted nationally as adult status. That does not mean that states cannot decide to set certain restrictions on adults of any age - IF those adults let them. Yes, there are more stepped restrictions between 18 and 21 than there are say over 30, but they still exist.

    Your point about cookies and soda is not a crazy as you think - just look at what the "food police" are already doing - TAXING soda or banning its out right sale. Now that you are 18 (an adult) it is up to you to decide what is right and wrong and VOTE. Participate in the process - call your legislators and TELL THEM what you think and how they should vote.

    Everyone always says - eh, its no big deal - that doesn't affect me. Right up until your rights are eroded and they are now coming after something important to you.

  • 2 years ago

    Different ages for different things. 18 for voting. 21 for drinking. 25 for being in the House of Representatives. 30 for the Senate. 35, theoretically, for the Presidency.

  • 2 years ago

    It depends on where you live. In the U.S., it is 18, 19 or 21, depending on the state where you live. Same in Canada - it varies by province. Smoking & drinking is an entirely different subject and, as you can guess, it's debatable.

    Source(s): Certified Paralegal, with 25+ years' experience.
  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    Personally, I think that 18 is more like late adolescence. Some boys aren't even through growing at that age.

    The age at which you can legally drink tends to be influenced by the number of fatal teen drunken driving accidents that occur. So, if too many stupid kids mess up, the law makers will decide that teens aren't responsible enough to have the drinking privilege.

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    18 where I live.

    You can die for your country but you can't buy beer? The land of the free, yeah right.

    Update: If your country can force you to fight and die you should be able to drink, smoke, drive a car, vote, purchase other age restricted items, borrow money, be obligated to sit on a jury, get married and get divorced.

    I.e. be treated as an adult, and enjoy the privileges as well as the responsibilities that adulthood comes with. that is what.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    In contrast to a "minor", a legal adult is a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible. The typical age of attaining legal adulthood is 18, although definition may vary by legal rights and country.

    Source(s): Google.
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