Baltics, Sweden: Teenagers Consume Less Alcohol

A new study has found that now, school children consume less alcohol in Estonia comparative to 2003.

A Master’s thesis by Daisy Kudre compared alcohol use patterns of Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Finnish and Swedish teenagers, between the ages of 15 and 16 in the years from 2003 to 2015. The study found that both boys and girls in Estonia are now consuming less alcohol than in 2003.

Surveys of alcohol consumption among school children show that alcohol uses began to rise in the 1990s, remained stable in the early 2000s and started to decline since 2003.

In 2003 in Estonia, 60.7% girls and 60% boys said they had consumed alcohol. Comparatively in 2015 reported alcohol use has reduced to 39.1% girls and 31.6% of boys.

The trend of declining alcohol consumption is similar across all studied countries. Lithuania showed the largest decrease while Latvia showed the smallest.

Several risk factors for early alcohol initiation were included in the study.

  • Lesser parental control (parents who did not know where their child was on a Saturday night),
  • Being absent from school in the past 30 days,
  • Smoking tobacco or cannabis use,
  • Perceiving as alcohol being highly available.

Several reasons why alcohol use among adolescents is shrinking are discussed by Ms. Kudre:

  • Increased awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol,
  • The introduction of comprehensive alcohol prevention measures, and
  • Changes in social practices, attitudes and conditions.

The study is in line with research showing alcohol consumption among adolescents to be decreasing globally, such as shown in Finland and Australia.

Young People and Alcohol Abstention