Association Between Age at First Alcohol Use and Heavy Episodic Drinking: An Analysis of Thailand’s Smoking and Alcohol Drinking Behavior Survey 2017
According to evidence from developed countries, age at first alcohol use has been identified as a determinant of heavy episodic alcohol use. This study aimed to investigate the association between age at first alcohol use and heavy episodic alcohol consumption using data from the Smoking and Drinking Behavior Survey 2017, a Thai nationally representative survey.
Binary logistic regression was used to examine the association. This study used data from 23,073 current alcohol users in the survey. The survey participants were chosen to represent the Thai population aged 15 years and older.
The prevalence of heavy episodic alcohol use and frequent heavy episodic alcohol use among Thai alcohol users was 18.6% and 10.1%, respectively.
Age at first alcohol use <20 years was associated with higher odds of heavy episodic alcohol use and frequent heavy episodic alcohol use relative to age at first alcohol use ≥25 years.
Regular alcohol use, alcohol use at home, and exposure to alcohol advertising increased the odds of heavy episodic alcohol use.
Alcohol use at home was associated with frequent heavy episodic alcohol use.
There was a significant interaction between the effect of age at first alcohol use and sex on heavy episodic alcohol use and frequent heavy episodic alcohol use with a stronger effect of age at first alcohol use observed in females.
This study provides evidence from a developing country that early onset of alcohol use is associated with heavy episodic alcohol use.
Effective measures such as alcohol tax and other pricing policies should be implemented to delay the onset of alcohol consumption.