Smoking, drinking and drug taking make young people unhappy

Population Health

Smoking, drinking and drug taking make young people unhappy



New figures from NHS Digital show just over half (51 per cent) of young people aged 11 to 15 years who had recently drunk alcohol, smoked cigarettes and taken drugs experienced low levels of happiness. This is compared to 36 per cent who had recently done just one of these things, and 22 per cent who hadn’t tried any of them.According to the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People 2018 report, 2 per cent of pupils had recently smoked, drunk alcohol and taken drugs, 11 per cent had done only one of these recent behaviours, with 84 per cent having done none of these things.The number of pupils that reported having smoked dropped from 19 per cent in 2016 to 16 per cent in this survey. This marks a continuing decline from a high of 49 per cent in 1996.Around 17 per cent of pupils said they usually drank alcohol at least once a month, with 6 per cent saying they drank at least once a week.

Other statistics in the report reveal:

  • Pupils from more affluent families were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week
  • Just under half (47 per cent) of 15-year-olds thought it was okay to drink alcohol once a week, while 19 per cent thought it was okay to get drunk once a week
  • 5 per cent of all pupils were current smokers
  • A quarter of pupils reported having used e-cigarettes, the same as in 2016. Regular e-cigarette use was 6 per cent in 2018
  • 24 per cent admitted to having taken drugs, the same as the previous 2016 survey
  • 8 per cent of pupils had taken cannabis. Around 3 per cent admitted to taking a Class A drug and 1 per cent said they had taken a psychoactive substance
  • 13 per cent of children thought it was okay to try cannabis to see what it was like. This increased to 30 per cent among 15-year-olds.

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