Positive youth drinking trend confirmed by AIHW survey
1 June 2017
THE Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand is encouraged by the first blush of results released from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW’s) 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
“The first release of data from the 2016 survey today confirms a trend of continuous improvement when it comes to the critical issue of underage drinking,” Brewers Association CEO Brett Heffernan said today.
“The Survey reveals that the proportion of teenagers drinking alcohol has fallen dramatically since the last survey – down from 28% to 18% in just three years. That’s an impressive 82% of our young people putting off having a drink at least until they are of legal age.
“In 2013, the AIHW reported that 72% of teenagers in Australia do not drink any alcohol at all, which started to put together a better understanding of the pattern of maturing attitudes to drinking, up from 63.6% abstinence among this age demographic in 2010 and 56.5% in 2007.
“Further, today’s data shows that of the 18% of young people who did try alcohol, the age of first drink has risen to around 16 years of age. Again, this confirms a positive trend, with the AIHW previously reporting the age of first drink moving up from 15 years old in 2007, to 15.2 in 2010 and 15.7 in 2013.
“What is clear is that underage drinking is in long-term decline in Australia. While we, naturally, focus on the 18% who are trying alcohol at a young age, the trend is tracking in the right direction.
“These results lend further weight that attitudes are changing, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting in 2013-14 that Australians are drinking less alcohol overall today than any time in the previous 50 years.
“We’ve come a long way since the days of the 6 o’clock swill. Since the peak of alcohol consumption in the mid-1970s the ABS reports that there has been a 25% drop in total alcohol consumption in Australia.
“Australia’s brewers have led the way over the past decade with the rise in popularity of low- and mid-strength beers growing markedly to account for 25% of all beer sold in Australia. Our beer makers continue to invest in the low- and mid-strength options, giving people greater choice and more control in their alcohol consumption.
“We look forward to the AIHW’s release of the full survey later this year.”
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