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Vaping increases despite young people drinking and smoking less

Friday, 17 Jul 2020

Young people today are less likely than previous generations to drink, smoke tobacco or take illicit drugs, however, experimentation with vaping is on the rise.

The data comes from Australia’s welfare 2019, a survey of 23,000 Australians aged over 14, conducted every three years by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare.

When it comes to alcohol, the study found that teens today drink differently to in the past.

The proportion of young people who drink alcohol at risky levels – more than four standard drinks per session – fell between 2001 and 2019.

Two-thirds of 14-17 year olds had never consumed a full standard drink in their life, a significant rise from 28 per cent in 2001.

The report shows illicit drug use among young people is also on the decline. In 2001, 38% of 14–19 year olds had used an illicit drug at some point in their lives, but by 2019, this was 22%.

Young people are also less likely to smoke tobaccos than older Australians. People in their 40s and 50s were the most likely to smoke daily in 2019. This is different from 2001 when people in their 20s were the most likely age group to smoke daily.

Despite these promising trends, e-cigarettes are gaining in popularity.

More young Australians are experimenting with vaping, even if they’ve never smoked cigarettes.

The report showed one-in-five young adults who didn’t smoke had tried e-cigarettes.

Life Ed CEO, Kellie Sloane said while, for the most part, young people are listening to health advice when it comes to alcohol, smoking and illicit drugs, the increase in vaping was a concern.

“When it comes to health and wellbeing our young people are doing a great job. It shows – when given the necessary support to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills – they can make safe and healthy choices,” Ms Sloane said.

“As a community, we cannot rest on this. Life Ed is committed to educating young people about the harms associated with vaping and reminding children that there is no safe way to smoke”

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