NHS figures have revealed that the number of 11 to 15 year olds that are regularly drinking and smoking is at record low levels, according to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
The number of young people that regularly smoke is now 5%, less than half what it was in the mid-1990s. The number of young people that report drinking alcohol in the past week has fallen from 26% in 2001 to 12% in 2011.
ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “There is a marked shift in attitudes and behaviours of young people towards smoking and drinking, and we’re proud that our members have played a crucial role in restricting access to these products by young people. These findings are important context for the on-going political debates about the need for more regulation of retailers. It is the positive work that industry, government and the wider community are doing together nationally and locally that is having an impact.
“The positive work we have undertaken, such as Challenge 25, Proof of Age Standards Scheme, CitizenCard and Community Alcohol Partnerships have played their part in this, as have the individual initiatives of thousands of companies across the retail sector. Education and partnership remains the best way to tackle underage drinking and smoking.”