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Swedish teens' drinking habits at forty-year low

Swedish teens' drinking habits at forty-year low

Published: 06 Dec 2013 15:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Dec 2013 15:07 GMT+01:00

Underage drinking in Sweden is at its lowest level in over four decades, according to a new report, which also found that Swedish kids from the south are the most likely to consume alcohol.

The study was carried out by the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (Centralförbundet för alkohol- och narkotikaupplysning - CAN) and revealed that underage drinking is at a 40-year low. 

However, the report did point out teenagers in Skåne were more prone to taking a drink than their equivalent peer groups across the rest of Sweden.

"We found in our research that the number of young people who drank was a little bit higher in southern Sweden than in other regions," Isabella Gripe, who edited the report for CAN, told The Local.

Youngsters in southern Sweden, particularly Malmö, have a greater access to alcohol due to the close proximity to Copenhagen where they don't have to contend with Sweden's state controlled Systembolaget liquor stores.

"I think that could be an explanation but it is hard to say exactly why young people drink more in the south," added Gripe.

A total of 5,000 teenagers in the ninth grade (aged 14 and 15) and 4,500 students in the second year of gymnasium (17 and 18) were surveyed.

The number of ninth grade students nationwide who admitted to drinking was at its lowest since 1971 when CAN started carrying out the surveys.

A total of 47 percent of ninth graders said they took a drink in the last year. Meanwhile, some 77 percent of students in the second year of senior high school said they drank in the previous 12 months which is a decrease from a figure of 90 percent back in 2004.

"The most significant finding from the study is that young people are starting to drink when they are older. Now they are not so young and that is partly because there are more places now for young people to interact which don't involve alcohol," said Gripe.

"The role of parents is of course very important in shaping how young people view alcohol."

The Swedish Council is a non-governmental organization founded in 1901. It publishes regular reports on drug and alcohol trends in Sweden.

In Sweden the legal age to drink is 18 but in order to make a purchase at the Systembolaget chain, customers must be at least 20 years old.

The Local/pr 

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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