Youths cut alcohol and tobacco use
Fewer young people in the country are using alcohol and tobacco, but Denmark still ranks among the highest in Europe
Danish teens still use more alcohol and tobacco than their peers in the rest of Europe, but a new report shows the number has dropped significantly from previous years.
Some 3,300 pre-teens and teens from 97 of the country's schools participated in a study focusing on the lifestyles of 11-15 year olds, reported daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
The study by the National Board of Health showed that since 1997, the number of 11-13 year-olds who had drunk at least five servings of alcohol in one day over a period of 30 days dropped up to 50 percent. Use among the 14-15 age group also showed a marked fall since 1997.
Many young people in Denmark are still introduced to alcohol at a relatively young age, however, said project leader Morten Wiberg.
Wiberg attributes the decrease in usage to new legislation which as made it harder for young people to purchase both tobacco and alcohol products.
In 1998, it became illegal to sell alcohol to young people under the age of 15. In 2004 lawmakers raised the age limit one year to 16.
Tobacco use among teens has also seen a decline. Jørgen Falk, information consultant with Board of Health's prevention unit, told daily newspaper MetroXpress that although young people start smoking around the same age as in 1997, fewer of them smoke daily. He said there has also been a noticeable fall in smoking among girls.
Wieberg also said a change in the attitude of parents has had an effect.
'Parents have stopped introducing their children to alcohol. There has also been a noticeable effect when parents of children in the same grade make a collective decision on their attitude to alcohol and tobacco,' said Wiberg stating that in 2002, over half of the participating schools had created an alcohol policy for students.
Wiberg said that overall there is still a way to go before alcohol and tobacco use is stamped out among young people, but that the newest study is a positive step.