Underage drinking reaches ‘record low’ in UK

18th December, 2017 by Melita Kiely

Alcohol consumption among eight to 15-year-olds in the UK has dropped to “record lows”, falling by 67% since 2003 according to a new study.


Underage drinking in the UK is at a “record low”, latest study shows

The figures, published on NHS Digital, were sourced from 12,051 pupils in 177 schools, who completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2016.

In 2003, 45% of children in this age group reported having tried an alcoholic drink. In 2016, this percentage had dropped to 15% – a 67% decrease.

The data also showed that half (50%) of children between the ages of 11 and 15 thought it was acceptable to try alcohol to see what it’s like, down from 67% in 2003.

Furthermore, 19% of 11-15-year-olds said it was fine to get drunk to see what it’s like, compared to 31% in 2003.

Drinks industry trade body the Portman Group welcomed the news.

John Timothy, chief executive of the Portman Group, said: “This is really welcome and encouraging news. Underage drinking has now hit a record low with children today significantly less likely to drink alcohol or think that getting drunk is okay than previous generations.

“Parents and guardians have played a key part in this education process and Christmas is a great opportunity to reinforce these important messages and show that alcohol can be enjoyed responsibly over the festive period.

“Drinks producers and retailers have put a huge amount of effort into tackling underage drinking through robust ID schemes, Community Alcohol Partnerships and effective self-regulation of alcohol marketing and we are now seeing the positive impact these interventions are making.”

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