First signs that trends in youth substance use might be turning

Finnish young people drink and smoke clearly less than in the early 2000s, but the positive trend seems to have stopped. This is what a recent Finnish Young People’s Health Study says.

Fewer young people are completely sober, compared with the previous study conducted in 2017, Yle News report.

Every tenth boy between the ages of 14 and 18 and eight per cent of girls of the same age use tobacco products daily. The share of boys is the same as two years earlier, but the share of girls has slightly increased. This is explained by the increased use of snus.

On the other hand, about one-third of 14-18-year-olds drink alcohol at least once a month. Girls and boys drink the same amount, and the numbers are still falling slightly. However, there are fewer young people calling themselves full abstainers. According to new results, 43 per cent of boys and 40 per cent of girls report being sober, compared to 45 per cent of boys and 43 per cent of girls two years ago.

Professor of Public Health Arja Rimpelä from the University of Tampere, who was involved in the study, is concerned about the stalling of good development. “That’s the unfortunate thing here. At its worst, this can be a turning point for long-term development.”

At the same time in Denmark

A TV2 poll suggests that one out of five people in Denmark think it is okay for young people to indulge in alcohol before they are 16 years old, The Copenhagen Post writes.

Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the Danish Institute of Public Health reveals that a trend that had seen alcohol consumption among young people decline has started to reverse.

The latest figures show that while four out of five 15-year-olds have already tried drinking alcohol, one out of ten 11-year-olds and one out of three 13-year-olds have tried it as well.

Henrik Rindom, an expert in the field, states several reasons why young people might turn to drinking.

“The parents’ alcohol consumption and norms around their children’s alcohol consumption can have a major impact on how much young people drink and how early they begin,” he said.