Regular alcohol consumption among adolescents has fallen to its lowest level since records began. According to a study by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), 8.7 percent of the twelve to

According to their own statements, 17-year-olds consume alcohol at least once a week. In 2011 it was around 14 percent and in the first survey in 1979 it was still a quarter of those questioned, as the BZgA announced on Thursday in Cologne.

The long-term trend for regular drinking among young adults (18 to 25 years) is also declining and was 32 percent in 2021. Ten years ago the proportion was a good 40 percent and at the end of the 1970s it was 66 percent.

According to the study, smoking is also becoming increasingly outdated. The proportion of young smokers has fallen steadily since 1997 from 28 percent back then to six percent now. 83 percent of 12 to 17 year olds even stated that they had never smoked in their lives. The proportion of smokers among young adults has also declined over the long term, but has stagnated at around 30 percent since 2014.

Half of those aged 18 to 25 have used cannabis at least once. This is the highest value since the 1970s. Around nine percent of the young people surveyed had experienced cannabis. This is currently higher than ten years ago, when 6.7 percent in this age group stated that they had already consumed cannabis.

The previous high was here in 2004 with 15 percent. Prof. Dr. Martin Dietrich, Acting Director of the BZgA, comments:

“The new data on substance use among young people show positive developments overall. More and more young people have never smoked in their lives. Alcohol consumption among young people is also declining. However, it is with great concern that we see the increase in cannabis use by young people. Half of young adults have experience using cannabis.”

And further: “The earlier cannabis is consumed, the riskier it is. Cannabis use can impair brain development during adolescence. These health risks must not be downplayed. That is why the BZgA’s prevention offers are particularly important for young people, in order to inform them early on about the effects of cannabis and to sensitize them to the risks.”