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Survey of Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England

Lads drinking
Researchers: Elizabeth Fuller

Aim

Every year, we speak to around 6000 11-15 year olds to find out:

  • how many smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs and any patterns in these behaviours;
  • what they think about smoking, drinking and drug use;
  • and whether certain factors affect smoking, drinking or drug use.

Latest findings

Our latest findings are from 2013.

Trying smoking is at its lowest level since the mid-1990s

22% of pupils reported that they had tried smoking at least once - in 1996, nearly half (49%) had done so.

The prevalence of regular smoking has also declined

In 2012, 4% of pupils were defined as regular smokers (at least one cigarette a week), down from a high of 13% in 1996.

The number of pupils drinking alcohol has fallen

39% of pupils aged 11 to 15 said that they had had at least one alcoholic drink in their lifetime - a decline from 61% in 2003. 10% reported drinking alcohol in the last week, a decrease from 25% in 2003.

There has been a decline in drug use

In 2012, 16% of pupils reported that they had ever taken drugs, down from 29% in 2001. 11% had taken them in the last year and 6% in the last month.

Methodology                              

We speak to young people in around 200 schools of all kinds, including state-maintained and independent schools. In each school, a sample of pupils is randomly selected from all classes in Years 7 to 11 and asked to complete a paper questionnaire. The survey is administered by NatCen interviewers in order to guarantee confidentiality to participants.

Read the reports here