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Cigarettes and alcohol Booze loses its appeal for Swiss youth

Boys drink and smoke more than girls, but overall they don't drink and smoke as much as teens used to


Young people in Switzerland are smoking and drinking less than in 2010, according to a study carried out every four years by Addiction Switzerland for the World Health Organization (WHO). Boys still consume more alcohol and cigarettes than girls.

As part of the international study involving 44 countries, nearly 1000 school children in Switzerland, aged between 11-15 were asked to answer an anonymous survey about their drinking and smoking habits.

10% of 15-year-old boys and 6% of girls of the same age said they drink alcohol at least once a week. In 2010, when the survey was last carried out, the numbers were 27% and 13% respectively.

More than a third of all 15-year-olds had tried smoking at least once. The number who smoked on a daily basis dropped 5% from 2010, to 7%.

Addiction Switzerland, an organisation which promotes health awareness, said the statistics raised the question as to whether the use of new media platforms was partly responsible for the decline in alcohol and cigarette consumption among youngsters. They also gave the opinion that society as a whole is more health-conscious than it used to be.

Roy Salveter, co-head of the health ministry’s national prevention programme said at a press conference in Bern on Monday, that test-purchases need to become more widely used. This is where under-age young people attempt to buy age-restricted products to see if shopkeepers and bartenders are checking I.D.

A quarter of the 15-year-olds who drank alcohol said they had bought it in a shop or bar. Friends, siblings and parents were the next most likely sources for acquiring alcoholic drinks.

Cannabis use among Switzerland’s youth also declined a little, 30% of boys aged 15 and 19% of girls of the same age had tried cannabis at least once. In 2010, the figures were 36% and 25% respectively. 

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