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Adolescent Health and Lifestyle Survey

Smoking, drinking among young people not decreasing

18 Aug 2019, 01:21 ( 1 Month ago)

DF Report
Photo: City of Helsinki/Comma Image Oy.

The use of tobacco products among Finnish adolescents has long been declining. Over the past two years, however, the decreasing trend seems to have stopped, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health quoting a survey report.

Snus use is on the rise, even among girls. The decline in alcohol consumption among Finnish young people has also stopped, according to the findings of the 2019 Adolescent Health and Lifestyle Survey.

Conducted every two years, the survey follows the health behaviours of 12 to 18-year-old Finns.

Among 16 to 18-year-old Finns, 13% use tobacco products daily, while the corresponding percentage among 14-year-olds is only about 2%.

Ten years earlier, the corresponding figures were 25% and 8%, and 32% and 14% at the beginning of the millennium.

 From the point of view of public health, the long-running positive trend seems to have stalled over the past two years.

The fact that more and more young people – about 6% of girls and 15% of boys aged 16 to 18 – have begun to use snus daily or occasionally in the 2010s raises concerns.

According to the survey, only about 2% of 16 to 18-year-olds used electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on a weekly basis or more frequently, and only very few 14-year-olds used them. About half of boys and a third of girls aged 16 to 18 had tried e-cigarettes. Among young people, the reasons for trying e-cigarettes often come from a desire to try out something new or their friends’ use of e-cigarettes. Fewer than one in ten reported having used e-cigarettes to help quit smoking. The use of e-cigarettes among young people has not increased since they entered the market in the early 2010s.

Non-drinking among young people increased and alcohol use and binge drinking decreased throughout the 2000s. During the past two years, however, this positive trend seems to have stalled. An exception to this is binge drinking among 18-year-old boys, which has continued to decrease.