Fewer Pupils Smoking and Drinking than 10 Years Ago, Market Research Shows

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1st October 2014 11:22 - Health

The latest Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England survey has highlighted the changing trends among 11 to 15-year-olds. The findings cross both the education and health and social care sectors.

According to the research, when a pupil is in year seven at high school, in a class of 30 students, one in 30 will have tried smoking, however, this figure rises to almost half (13 out of 30) by the time the pupil has reached year 11.

In 2001, one in 10 young people said they smoked at least once a week, but, in 2013, this figure dropped to one in 30, highlighting an evident change in trend.

Furthermore, the survey discovered that 16% of young people who live with three or more smokers are regular smokers themselves, compared to just 2% of those who live in a non-smoking household.

Similarly to smoking, fewer young people are drinking alcohol now than they were 10 years ago, according to the research. In 2003, in a group of 30 pupils aged between 11 and 15, 18 of them will have tried an alcoholic drink, in 2013, however, this number dropped to 12.

When young people are in year seven, almost four fifths (77%) of those who drink, do so with their parents, with around one fifth (22%) consuming alcohol with their friends. By the time pupils reach year 11 though, just one sixth (15%) drink with their parents, with the remaining 85% boozing with their friends.

Gender-wise, typically, the majority of males (63%) consumed beer or cider. Girls, on the other hand, showed more variety, with a fairly even split between beer and cider (30%), wine (25%) and spirits (22%).

The final element of the study - drugs - uncovered that in a class of 30 students aged between 11 and 15, five of them will have tried drugs at least once. More than one quarter (28%) of the pupils questioned said they had been offered drugs at least once.

And, finally, around one in 10 (9%) of the survey’s participants said they thought it was okay to try cannabis, three in 10 (31%) thought trying a cigarette was alright and more than half (53%) believed trying alcohol was acceptable.

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