CNC helps shed light on effects of young people’s use of cigarettes and alcohol

At age 11, very few of you said you had tried smoking or drinking alcohol. However, according to findings from CNC, those who had tried cigarettes or alcohol were more likely to get distracted from their studies or into trouble at school.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the USA looked at information from more than 13,000 CNC study members. They found that only 3 per cent of you had tried smoking and 13 per cent had drunk alcohol.

During the age 11 survey we asked you if you had tried a cigarette, or had more than a few sips of an alcoholic drink. When you were age 7 and 11, we asked if you liked your schoolwork, and whether or not you found it interesting, or if you felt school was a waste of time. We also asked how often you felt happy, sad or angry.

The researchers studied your responses and found that young people who had tried cigarettes or alcohol by age 11 were less engaged with their schoolwork and had lower wellbeing.

The early experience of smoking or drinking did not appear to affect academic attainment at this age.

Children were less likely to smoke or drink early if their parents were highly educated and did not smoke or drink themselves.