New figures from NHS Digital have revealed that pupils who have recently smoked, drunk alcohol and taken drugs are more likely to be ‘unhappy’.
Specifically, 51% of young people aged 11 to 15 who had recently drunk alcohol, smoked cigarettes and taken drugs reported experiencing low levels of happiness compared to 36% who had recently done just one of these things, and 22% who hadn’t recently smoked, drank or taken drugs.
The report, ‘Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People 2018’ also revealed that 2% of pupils had recently smoked, drunk alcohol and taken drugs, 11% had done only one of these recent behaviours, with 84% having done none of these things.
Further, the number of pupils that reported having ever smoked dropped from 19% in 2016, to 16% in this survey, making it the lowest rate recorded in the survey and marking a continuing decline from 49% in 1996.
There was also a differentiation between classes, as pupils from more affluent families were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week: 13% of pupils from the most affluent families compared to 7% from the least affluent families.
The report went on to show that the proportion of current smokers who said they managed to buy cigarettes from shops halved from 46% in 2014 to 23% in 2018, and just a quarter of pupils reported they had ever used e-cigarettes in 2018 – surprisingly the same as in 2016 – with frequent or regular e-cigarette use at 6%.