6. Risky behaviours
This section presents findings on the prevalence and frequency of smoking, alcohol and drug use, as well as anti-social behaviours.
6.1 Smoking, drinking and drug use – young person
Young people were asked whether they had ever tried a cigarette (even if it was only a single puff), ever tried vaping, ever drunk alcohol (even a sip), and whether they had tried cannabis or any other drugs. As shown in Figure 34, just over half said they had tried alcohol, whilst around one in five said they had tried smoking a cigarette or vape. Only a small minority said they had tried cannabis or other drugs.
Boys were more likely to say they had tried an e-cigarette or vape (23.6%, compared with 19.4% of girls) and cannabis (9.3%, compared with 6.3% of girls).
Those in SIMD quintile 3 were more likely to say they had tried an e-cigarette or vape than those in higher quintiles (27.2%, compared with 18.7% of quintile 4 and 18.3% of quintile 5). Those in SIMD quintile 3 were also more likely to say they had tried cannabis (12%, compared with 5.6% of those in quintile 4 and 5.9% of those in quintile 5).
6.1.1 Smoking and vaping – young person
Those who had ever tried a cigarette were asked how often they smoked now. As shown in Figure 35, many young people had not continued smoking: the majority said they did not smoke now, whilst 19% of those that did smoked 'every day' or 'at least once a week' (3.2% of all young people).
Young people who said they had ever smoked a cigarette (at the Sweep 10 interview) were asked how old they were when they first smoked a whole cigarette (that is not just a puff). Half (50.3%) said they were 13 years or older, whilst just over one third (34.6%) said they had never smoked a whole cigarette, 13.3% said they were 11 or 12 years and a very small proportion (1.9%) had first smoked a whole cigarette when they were 10 years or younger.
6.1.2 Alcohol use – young person
Those who said they had ever had an alcoholic drink (at the Sweep 10 interview) were asked how old they were when they first did so. Over three quarters (77.8%) said they were 13 years or older when they first had an alcoholic drink; a small proportion (3.8%) said they were 10 years or younger, whilst the remainder (18.3%) were aged 11 or 12.
Girls were more likely to say they had their first alcoholic drink at an older age; 80.4% of girls said they were age 13 or over, compared to 74.6% of boys.
Those who had ever had an alcoholic drink were asked on how many days they had drunk alcohol in the last 30 days. As shown in Figure 36, over half of young people said they had not drunk alcohol in the last 30 days, while a small minority (6.6%) said they had drunk alcohol on six or more days.
Base: All young people who ever drank alcohol (1529)
Disabled young people were less likely to say they had not drunk alcohol in the past 30 days (61.0%) compared to non-disabled young people (53.5%).
Young people in SIMD quintile 1 were more likely to say they had not drunk alcohol in the past 30 days than those in quintile 5 (62.4%, compared to 48.3%).
Young people who had ever had an alcoholic drink were also asked whether they had 'ever had so much alcohol that they were really drunk'; around one quarter (24.1%) answered 'yes'.
6.1.3 Cannabis and other drugs – young person
Those who had ever tried cannabis were asked how often they had used cannabis. Two out of five said they used cannabis only once, whilst one in five (19.4%) used it once a week or more often.
Young people were asked if they ever tried any drugs other than cannabis – a very small proportion (2%) said they had done so. Of those, just under half (47.6%) said they had used other drugs only once or used them before but not anymore. Around one in ten (9.2%) said they used other drugs at least once a weak or most days.
6.2 Anti-social behaviour – parent/main carer and young person
Parents were asked whether their child had been in trouble with the police since the last interview; 2.3% reported that they had.
Young people were asked how many times they had engaged in any of the behaviours shown in Figure 38 in the last year. Seven out of ten young people (69.2%) said they had not engaged in any of these behaviours. The most commonly named behaviours were 'hit, kicked or punched someone' and 'been rowdy or rude in a public'.
As shown in Figure 39, boys were more likely than girls to say they had engaged in all of the anti-social behaviours shown, although the majority (60.5%) had not engaged in any of these behaviours (77.8% of girls had not engaged).
Disabled young people were more likely to say they had carried a knife or weapon (3.7%, compared with 1.2% of non-disabled young people) and had broken into a place to steal (1.8%, compared with 0.5%).
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