Rate of underage drinking falls to lowest level since records began

A sustained decline in underage drinking has been welcomed by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. Figures released today by the ONS and HCSIC reveal the rate of underage drinking has fallen to the lowest level since 1988, when records first began.

 The 2013 ‘Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England’ annual survey found that:

* 39% of pupils said they had drunk alcohol at least once. This continues the downward trend since 2003, when 61% of pupils had drunk alcohol, and is lower than at any time since 1988, when the survey first measured the prevalence of drinking in this age group.

* 9% of pupils had drunk alcohol in the last week. This proportion has fallen from 25% in 2003.

Commenting on the latest figures, WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“The fall in underage drinking represents a sustained, long-term trend, which is welcomed by the industry. Young people are now drinking less, and those that do, are drinking less frequently.    

The rollout of industry-led initiatives like Challenge 25 and Community Alcohol Partnerships, which are targeted at reducing underage sales of alcohol and tackling underage drinking, are clearly having a positive impact"

Notes to Editors:

The report contains results from an annual survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15). 5,187 pupils in 174 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2013. A copy of the report can be viewed here:

About the WSTA:

The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirits industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, exporting, transporting and selling wines and spirits. We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

About CAP:

Community Alcohol Partnerships bring together local retailers & licensees, trading standards, police, health services, education providers and other local stakeholders to tackle the problem of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.

About Challenge 25:

Challenge 25 is the retail-led initiative designed to ensure anyone who looks under the age of 25 carries acceptable forms of ID when purchasing alcohol. A recent review of Challenge 25, found there had been a significant fall in underage sales of alcohol since Challenge 25 was introduced. Further information on the review of Challenge 25 can be found here:


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