Many underage smokers and drinkers get their cigarettes and alcohol from family or friends, according to a Canadian study.
Researchers at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto surveyed more than 9 000 students in grades 7 to 12 from different parts of Ontario, focusing on those who smoked or drank alcohol. Of those who smoked, 58% said they got their last cigarette from a friend or family member.
Meanwhile, 19% said they got their last cigarette at a corner store, grocery store, gas station or bar. 26% of males said they were more likely to get cigarettes from these sources, compared with 10% of females. 73% of females said they got their last cigarette from a friend or family member, compared with 46% of males.
Among students who drank alcohol, 39% said someone gave it to them, while 28% said they gave money to someone to buy the alcohol for them. Only 6% said they got their alcohol from a liquor store.
Of students in urban/suburban areas, 40% reported that someone gave them alcohol, compared with 35% in rural areas. 33% of students in rural areas reported giving someone money to buy alcohol for them, compared with 27% of urban/suburban students.
Older students were much more likely to say they got their alcohol by giving someone else money to buy it: 32% vs. 2% for younger students while 53% of younger students said someone gave them alcohol, compared with 37% of older students.
"Despite efforts to curb youth smoking and prevent youth alcohol use, the survey tells us that youths are still able to easily access these substances, often from the very people who should be looking out for their well-being," survey principal investigator Dr Robert Mann, a senior scientist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, said in a centre news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about underage drinking.