BZgA study: alcohol consumption among young people at its lowest point

Status: 06/23/2022 1:22 p.m

According to the Federal Center for Health Education, alcohol consumption among young people is declining sharply. Tobacco consumption is also decreasing. However, it is smoked more than before.

Regular alcohol consumption among adolescents has fallen to its lowest level since records began. According to a study by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), 8.7 percent of 12 to 17 year olds said they drank alcohol at least once a week last year. In 2011 it was around 14 percent and in the first survey in 1979 it was still a quarter of those questioned, as the BZgA reported.

The long-term trend for regular drinking among young adults (18 to 25 years) is also declining and was 32 percent last year. Ten years ago the proportion was a good 40 percent and at the end of the 1970s it was 66 percent.

Less tobacco, more cannabis

According to the study, smoking is also becoming increasingly outdated. The proportion of young smokers has fallen continuously since 1997 from 28 percent back then to six percent now. 83 percent of the twelve to 17-year-olds even stated that they had never smoked in their lives. The proportion of smokers among young adults has also declined over the long term, but has stagnated at around 30 percent since 2014.

Half of those aged 18 to 25 have used cannabis at least once. This is the highest value since the 1970s. Around nine percent of the young people surveyed had experienced cannabis, the previous high was in 2004 with 15 percent.

“Prevention is always worth it”

“Prevention is always worthwhile – the figures for alcohol and tobacco clearly show that,” said Burkhard Blienert (SPD), the federal government’s commissioner for addiction and drug issues. More effective prevention is also needed when it comes to cannabis. According to Blienert, the controlled supply of cannabis to adults will make it easier overall “to speak openly and honestly about this topic”. He called on families, schools and clubs to provide information about the health consequences of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis consumption.

The BZgA regularly examines the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis by adolescents and young adults in Germany. For the representative 2021 study, around 7,000 people aged between 12 and 25 were interviewed by telephone between April and June 2021.

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