Health: Alcohol consumption among young people at low levels – Knowledge

Alcohol consumption has declined among adolescents and young adults. Photo: Silas Stein/dpa


Fewer and fewer young people regularly drink alcohol. Smoking is also increasingly out of fashion.

Cologne – Regular consumption of alcohol among young people has fallen to the lowest level since they were recorded.

According to a study by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), 8.7 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds reported drinking alcohol at least once a week last year. In 2011, it was around 14 percent, and in the first survey in 1979, it was still a quarter of the respondents, announced the BZgA in Cologne.

The long-term trend for regular drinking among young adults (ages 18 to 25) is also declining, reaching 32 percent in 2021. Ten years ago, that share was just over 40 percent, and in the late 1970s, it was 66 percent.

Fewer and fewer adolescent smokers

According to the study, smoking is also becoming increasingly obsolete. The proportion of young smokers has fallen steadily since 1997, from 28 percent then to 6 percent now. 83 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds even stated that they had never smoked in their life. The proportion of young adults who smoke has also declined over the long term, but has stagnated at about 30 percent since 2014.

Half of 18-25 year olds have used cannabis at least once. This is the highest value since the 1970s. About 9 percent of young people surveyed have experienced cannabis; the previous maximum was in 2004 at 15 percent.



The BZgA regularly examines the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis by adolescents and young people in Germany. For the 2021 representative study, around 7,000 people aged 12 to 25 were interviewed by phone between April and June 2021.

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