This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Teenage lifestyle survey
A new report out today shows a reduction in smoking among older boys but an overall rise in teenage drinking.
Key findings from the Scottish Schools' Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2002 include:
- Among 13-year-olds, nine per cent of girls and six per cent of boys were regular smokers. This has changed little since 1998
- Among 15-year-olds, 24 per cent of girls and 16 per cent boys were regular smokers. For boys, there has been a significant decline since 1998, when 25 per cent were regular smokers. There has been little change in girls
- 17 per cent of 13 year olds reported that they drink alcohol once a week or more, on a regular basis, with 38 per cent of 15 year olds reporting that they drank on a regular basis
- Reported drinking in the week prior to the survey has increased over the last four years among 15-year-old boys and girls and among 13-year-old girls, but not 13-year-old boys
- Reported use of drugs has changed little since 1998, with 23 per cent of 15 year olds and 8 per cent of 13 year olds having used drugs in the last month prior to the survey. Cannabis was the most commonly reported drug used. Very few pupils reported using any other drug
Deputy Health Minister Tom McCabe said:
"I welcome this report which gives us some signs of encouragement, but also causes for concern.
"The findings reinforce the importance of the Executive's work with young people on promoting good health. This will help focus our prevention efforts, for instance towards girls from poorer families who are more likely to be regular smokers and to report getting drunk.
"Drinking to excess, particularly in young people, and smoking have serious health consequences.
"Action on smoking prevention and education will also form an important element of the Executive's Tobacco Control Acton Plan which is due to be published shortly.
"Reducing harmful drinking by young people is one of our key priorities. All local Alcohol Action Teams are addressing this both in current work and future plans.
"Just over a quarter of young people said their families did not know about their drinking and almost half said their families did not mind if they drank.
"NHS Health Scotland's "Think about It" alcohol campaign, which targets teenagers, will run TV advertising until early January 2004. This complements the Executive's new alcohol campaign which aims to promote a sensible approach to alcohol amongst 18 to 25-year-olds.
"NHS Health Scotland is also currently developing a parents' guide to alcohol in partnership with the Executive. This will be launched early in 2004, and will give advice about teenage drinking habits and how parents can help their children understand the risks."
Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry added:
"Drug misuse affects too many lives and today's report shows quite clearly that many of those are young lives. Many children suffer as a result of parental drug misuse. However, these statistics confirm that too many of our youngsters are also experimenting with drugs, mainly cannabis.
"I am encouraged that drug use in the age groups surveyed has not increased since 1998, and that there is little sign of usage of hard drugs, such as heroin. The challenge, however, is to bring the statistics down.
"That is why our national drugs strategy has a key aim to help young people resist drug misuse in order to achieve their full potential in society. The Executive is undertaking a broad range of work in schools and in communities with young people, including those most vulnerable to substance use, to promote healthy, positive and drug-free lifestyles. Our "Know the Score" campaign makes it clear to young people that all illegal drugs are potentially dangerous and that youngsters need to make informed choices. This message is currently being reinforced through a high profile media advertising campaign."
Deputy Education Minister Euan Robson said:
"Young people need clear information about the risks associated with taking drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Through health education programmes, Scottish schools have made good progress in making pupils aware of the dangers involved as well as promoting positive lifestyles and encouraging young people to focus on achieving their full potential both in school and the wider community."