The Report, published by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUIG, has looked at the data from 50,000 10 to 17 year-olds since 1998 and at patterns and behaviours up until 2014.
The findings include:
- Age of first alcohol drink: Between 2002 and 2014 there was a statistically significant decrease in the proportion of children who reported having their first alcohol drink at age 13 or younger (48.4% in 2002; 29.8% in 2014).
- Overall, 58.2%, 57.2%, 52.7% and 41.2% of 15-17 year olds reported having ever been drunk in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 respectively. Of those who’ve ever been drunk, there was a statistically significant decrease in the proportions of 15 to 17 year-old girls and boys who reported having their first alcohol drink at age 11 or younger, 13 or younger and 15 or younger between 2002 and 2014.
“These findings support a growing body of international evidence and confirm what we in the industry already know, that alcohol consumption is declining In Ireland,” said ABFI’s new Director Patricia Callan speaking about the report, “A recent ESPAD (EU alcohol) survey found that Irish teenagers were third-lowest out of 32 EU countries surveyed for alcohol consumption.”
She added that the WHO Health Behaviour in School Aged Children Study stated that ‘Ireland is amongst a group of countries which have the most abstemious adolescents’.
“Furthermore, the Healthy Ireland Survey 2015 commissioned by the Department of Health found that 58% of those surveyed drink alcohol less frequently than once a week and there has been a decline in the numbers engaged in binge-drinking.
“As an industry we’ve openly supported the introduction of legislation to tackle alcohol misuse and the consumption of alcohol by young people,” she continued, “However, there’s no evidence to support certain measures contained in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which we believe will do nothing to tackle misuse but will jeopardise jobs and local economies in the wider hospitality sector which employs 200,000 people.
“The proposed introduction of a 9pm evening watershed for broadcast media to limit the exposure of under-18s to alcohol advertising will be detrimental for Irish broadcasters whose revenues are already under threat. Yet it will be utterly ineffective as it will not apply to programming that’s viewed on demand or online – increasingly popular as a means of viewing content by young people. We believe that a balance could and should be struck between promoting public health and safeguarding jobs and local business in our communities,” she concluded.