Percentage of pupils aged 11-15 years who regularly smoked cigarettes,
The prevalence of drug-use was higher among boys than girls. In 2000, 15 per cent of boys aged 11 to 15 years used drugs in the last year compared with 13 per cent of girls, and 31 per cent of males aged 16 to 19 years used drugs in the last year compared with 24 per cent of females in the same age group.
Cannabis was the most widely used drug among 11- to 19-year-olds. In 2000, of those aged 11 to 15 years in England, 12 per cent were using cannabis. In England and Wales, 25 per cent of those aged 16 to 19 years were using cannabis. The prevalence of using cannabis and Class A drugs increased with age. Between 1994 to 2000, the use of amphetamines, LSD and poppers decreased among 16- to 19-year-olds.
Between 1990 and 2000, girls were more likely to smoke than boys among those aged 11 to 15 years. In 2000, 12 per cent of girls aged 11 to 15 years in England were regular smokers compared with nine per cent of boys. However, in this age group, consumption of cigarettes among regular smokers was higher for boys than girls with boys smoking an average of 50 cigarettes in a week compared with the 44 for girls. There was little variation in the prevalence of smoking among those aged 16 to 19 years.
In England, the prevalence of drinking alcohol in the last week for all pupils aged 11 to 15 years increased slightly from 21 per cent in 1990 to 24 per cent in 2000. Also boys were more likely than girls to have drunk in the last week, 25 per cent of boys compared with 23 per cent of girls in 2000.
Boys aged 11 to 15 years were likely to consume more units of alcohol than girls in the same age group. In 2000, the average consumption for boys was 11.6 units compared with 9.1 units for girls. Beer, lager and cider were the most popular types of alcohol drunk by both boys and girls.
Sources: Boreham R and Shaw A (eds) (2001) Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England in 2000, National Centre for Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research, TSO: London British Crime Survey, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000, Home Office Living in Britain: Results from the 2000/2001 General Household Survey, Office for National Statistics
Class A drugs include amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, magic mushrooms, LSD and unprescribed use of methadone.
Poppers is the term for the group of chemicals known as Alkyl Nitrates that include Amyl Nitrite, Butyl Nitrite and Isobutyl Nitrite. They come as a clear or straw-coloured liquid in a small bottle or tube. The vapour is inhaled through the mouth or nose.