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Behavioural addictions in children of 12 and 13 in Spain

  • 34.6% of 12 and 13-year-old students acknowledge having consumed alcohol at least once in their lives
  • 25% have smoked an electronic cigarette

The Spanish Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs has carried out a pilot study on alcohol and tobacco consumption and possible behavioural addictions, in young people aged 12-13 (1st and 2nd of ESO).

Alcoholic beverages

34.6% of students aged 12 and 13 admit having consumed alcohol at least once in their lives. This prevalence decreases as the time period analysed becomes shorter (30.6% in the last 12 months and 21.5% in the last month).

The extent of consumption of alcohol at some point in life and in the last year turned out to be very similar in boys and girls. However, in the last 30 days, there has been a slightly greater presence of consumers among boys (22.3%) than among girls (20.6%).

Students aged 12-13 mostly obtain alcoholic beverages in neighbourhood stores (41.6%) and in other people’s homes (40.8%) or in their own homes (33.2%). 

Energy drinks

37.7% of 12 and 13-year-old students have consumed energy drinks (Red Bull, Burn, Monster, Coca-Cola Energy, etc.) in the last 30 days, and 10.2% mixed them with alcohol.

The consumption increases as the age of the students increases, almost doubling in the 14 to 18-year-old group. In the case of energy drinks mixed with alcohol (19.5% vs. 10.5%).

Regarding gender, the consumption of both energy drinks alone and mixed with alcohol is higher among males than among females in both age groups.

Tobacco

8.5% of students aged 12 to 13 admit having smoked tobacco at some point in their lives (6.5% in the last year and 4.1% in the last month). It is a somewhat more widespread consumption among girls than among boys regardless of the time period analysed.

Electronic cigarettes

One in four students aged 12 and 13 declares having used electronic cigarettes at some point in their life (25.2%), 21% in the last year and 11.2% in the last month.

Regardless of the time period analysed, the prevalence of electronic cigarette consumption is somewhat higher among girls than among boys.

Age is a key factor when analyzing the prevalence of electronic cigarette consumption among younger secondary school students. The data recorded for 13-year-old students practically doubles that of 12-year-old students in the last month (14.5% vs. 7.6%).

Source: Ministry of Health