French youth smoke, drink less since pandemic –

Recent research shows that youth consumption of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis in France has dropped significantly since the pandemic began in March 2020, but lockdowns are not the only reason for this downward trend.

Here is the original article in French.

These were recent results

“These results show that the pandemic has accelerated the downward trend in alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use among young people in France,” said Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, in a press release. , commenting on a study by the World Health Organization (WHO). ) conducted in collaboration with EnCLASS and published on Friday (December 16).

Countries, including France, have decided to close schools to limit the spread of the virus during the pandemic, leading to disruptions to teenagers’ studies and social life.

One of the results, according to the EnCLASS survey of 2,000 14-year-old students in 2021, is a significant drop in tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use.

For example, youth alcohol consumption is trending downward, with levels in 2021 being the lowest since 2010 and most of the decline (60%) occurring between 2018 and 2021.

But the study also found that alcohol remains the most popular toxic substance among young people in France, with two in three 14-year-old students consuming alcohol by 2021. .

Emmanuelle Godeau, one of the lead authors of the EnCLASS study, said:

Lockdowns are not the only reason behind this trend, but can also be explained by “successful public policies and strategies, including the fight against the normalization of tobacco use,” she noted in a WHO press release. I’m here.

tobacco and alcohol

Cannabis and alcohol use by young people is declining, but when it comes to tobacco consumption, the numbers are most important.

According to the survey, in 2021 only 30% of French teenagers had tried smoking, compared with 37.5% in 2018 and almost 52% in 2010.

The percentage of teen smokers (those who have smoked at least one cigarette in the last 30 days) has also decreased from 13.6% in 2018 to 10.2% in 2021.

But e-cigarette use remained stable during the pandemic, according to a study that considers the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among French teens a “worrying” trend. .

Studies have shown that lifetime e-cigarette use is higher than lifetime tobacco use.

don’t pass the herb

Cannabis use is also declining, with only 9.1% of 14-year-olds having tried cannabis by 2021, down almost a third from 2010 (23.9%).

Kluge argues that the findings show “both the importance of smart policies and the impact of the environment on our behavior.”

The decline in substance consumption among young people in France is believed to be partly due to COVID-19 measures such as lockdowns, but these could have more serious consequences and even more harm to health. There is a nature.

“These findings raise the question of the extent to which the pandemic is impacting the overall health of young people. It is imperative that we continue to study what is there,” warned Kluge. .

Children and young people are particularly affected by the phenomenon, according to a report voted by the European Parliament in September. Before the pandemic and multiple confinements, 10-20% of her children and adolescents had mental health problems, now it has risen to around 20-25%.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced in her State of the Union address that the EU’s mental health strategy will be presented in the second half of 2023.

“We need to improve access to mental health care, one of the pillar principles of European social rights,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides in a debate with MEPs last October. Agreed.

[Edited by Daniel Eck/Nathalie Weatherald]

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