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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Fewer kids smoking and drinking
Child smoking
A small minority of children still abuse drugs, alcohol and cigarettes
The number of school children who drink and smoke has fallen in the last two years, new figures have shown.

The Scottish Executive statistics also showed drug use among youngsters was less widespread than in the past.

However, the survey of 13 to 15-year-olds found that a "small minority" of children were still abusing alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said the report was "very encouraging" but warned there was still work to do.

Ms Robison said: "It is very encouraging that this report shows a decrease in the number of youngsters using drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

"However, it is concerning that a large number of teenagers are still causing harm to themselves and the communities in which they live through their substance use.

"I want to make sure that we are doing all we can to help and encourage young people make the right lifestyle choices."

Regular smokers

The statistical survey carried out every two years by executive statisticians found that although more pupils than ever had tasted alcohol, only a small minority drank regularly.

Some 57% of 13-year-olds had consumed an alcoholic drink at least once, compared to 84% of 15-year-olds.

However, the proportion who reported having had an alcoholic drink in the last week fell from 20% of 13-year-olds in 2004 to 14%, and for 15-year-olds the proportion fell from 43% to 36%.

It also revealed that 4% of 13-year-olds and 15% of 15-year-olds were regular smokers.

However, smoking by 13-year-olds had declined since 1998 from 9% to 3% among boys, and from 11% to 5% among girls.

Among 15-year-olds, smoking had declined from a peak in 1996, from both 30% for boys and girls to 12% for boys and 18% among girls.

It is concerning that a large number of teenagers are still causing harm to themselves and the communities in which they live through their substance use
Shona Robison
Public health minister

For drug use, just over a quarter of all 15-year-olds and one in 10 of all 13-year-olds said they had ever used drugs and 23% of the 15-year-olds and 7% of the 13-year-olds reported they had used drugs in the last year.

The proportion who said they had used drugs in the last month fell from 21% in 2004 to 14% among 15-year-old boys, and from 20% to 12% for 15-year old girls.

Almost half of 13-year-olds and 82% of 15-year-olds bought their cigarettes from a shop, with a similar pattern emerging for alcohol.

Cannabis was the most frequently reported drug. Very few pupils reported using any other drug.

Just under a quarter of all 13-year-olds, and just over half of all 15-year-olds, said they had been offered drugs.

Friends were the most commonly reported source of drugs, and for 15-year-olds the source was more likely to be a friend of their own age than an older friend.


SEE ALSO
GPs given nicotine patch advice
10 May 07 |  Scotland
Call for rethink on drugs policy
30 Apr 07 |  Scotland
School drug test plans rejected
13 Sep 06 |  Scotland

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