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420 with CNW — Research Finds That EU Youth Have Abandoned Tobacco, Alcohol in Favor of Weed

Teens in Europe are drinking less alcohol, smoking less tobacco and increasingly turning to cannabis, a new continent-wide study has found. Teens aged 15 and 16 year olds are drinking and smoking less than they were in the nineties and early 2000s, but the increasing rates of cannabis consumption have raised fears that youth may be engaging in different but equally damaging addictive behaviors. The study was carried out by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (“ESPAD”).

In what was its seventh such study since 1995, ESPAD interviewed 99,647 15- and 16-year-olds from 35 countries on their attitudes towards drug use; the interviews were conducted via questionnaires. Comprised of a network of autonomous research teams across 40 European countries, EPSAD is the largest international research project on substance abuse among adolescents in the world. The study was coordinated by the EPSAD Italian team at the National Research Council of Italy (“CNR-IFC”), with the results published in collaboration with the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (“EMCDDA”).

After collecting data on teen drug use over the course of 2019, the researchers found that more than three-quarters (75%) of the respondents had consumed alcohol in the past, with 47% doing so within the past month. This is down from 90% and 68% in 2003, and it can be partly attributed to recent legislation banning the sale of alcohol to minors. Only 10% of the respondents said that they smoked tobacco on a daily basis, down from the 20% who smoked daily 25 years ago.

The researchers also found that only one in five teens smoke every so often compared with the one in three who did so in 1995. Additionally, 40% of the respondents admitted to having tried e-cigarettes while only 14% smoked e-cigarettes daily. Of those who had never smoked before, 14% stated that they had tried e-cigarettes within the past month. However, while alcohol and tobacco use has been on a steady decline, the researchers found that cannabis use among European teens has been on the rise.

Approximately 16% of the respondents admitted to having tried cannabis in the past compared with 11% in 1995. Another 15% of Italian teens admitted to monthly use, with 24% of French teens saying they had used illicit drugs in general on at least one occasion. The study found that 2.8% of French teens were most likely to have tried cocaine. It also noted that 6.6% of the respondents had used sedatives and tranquilizers, stating that the “non-medical use of prescription drugs among adolescents remains a concern.”

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