England is WORST in the world for under-age drinking as half of 13-year-olds have had alcohol

England is WORST in the world for under-age drinking as half of 13-year-olds have had alcohol

A new study has named England as the worst country in the world for underage drinking as one in three 11-year-olds and half of 13-year-olds in England have had alcohol.

Experts are warning that children from wealthy households with suggestions they “mirror” the behaviour of parents who indulge in regular and frequent glasses of wine.

The landmark report, “Health Behaviour In School-Aged Children”, looked at the use of cigarettes, vapes and alcohol among those aged 11, 13 and 15 in Europe, Central Asia and Canada.

Among 11-year-olds, 34 per cent of girls and 35 per cent of boys have had an alcoholic drink, more than twice the global average of 15 per cent. 57 per cent of 13-year-old girls and 50 per cent of boys in England have drunk, compared with a global average of 33 per cent.

England is the worst for young alcohol consumption


International co-ordinator for the study Dr Jo Inchley from the University of Glasgow said: “Alcohol may be more normalised in more wealthy families, and financially it can be more accessible.

“Alcohol is part of sporting culture in the UK, and young people from affluent backgrounds are more likely to be in sports clubs and groups.

“We know the pandemic has affected young people. Having been in isolation and stuck at home, they may have taken up behaviours.

“Girls are reporting higher levels of drinking, smoking and vaping than boys. It is a very stark pattern, and may reflect higher levels of mental distress, schoolwork pressure and social media use in girls.”


Woman drinking alcohol

There has been a warning that the pandemic has impacted alcohol consumption


The report was based on a WHO survey of 280,000 children across 44 countries, during 2021-22.

Chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said: “We know that exposure to alcohol advertising leads children to begin drinking at an earlier age sooner and in greater quantities.

“With alcohol adverts frequently placed in bus stops near schools, on television before 9pm, and on websites and social media, there is no escape from alcohol marketing.

“Our children are seeing it every day, numerous times a day. Children have the right to grow up and live in a safe and healthy environment that is free from exposure to harmful marketing.”

The study also found that the UK seems to have more of an issue with underage vaping than many other countries.

Two fifths of girls in England and Scotland have vaped by the age of 15, higher than in other countries such as France, Austria, Germany, Albania, Spain, Canada and Norway.

A government spokesman said: “The health advice is clear — smoking, vaping and underage drinking can be damaging for young people and their development. That is why there are age restrictions on the sale of these products.

“As a government, we are creating the UK’s first smoke-free generation. Our landmark Tobacco and Vapes Bill will make it an offence to sell tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009 and includes powers to limit flavours, packaging and displays of vapes to reduce the appeal to children.”

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