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Underage Kids Getting Cigarettes and Alcohol from Friends and Family, Survey

Update Date: Sep 24, 2013 05:05 PM EDT
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Underage students who smoke or drink may be getting their cigarettes and alcohol from friends or family members, a new survey suggests.

A new survey conducted by the Center of Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario, Canada, reveals that 58 percent of students between 7th and 12th grade who smoke report receiving their last cigarette from a friend or family member, and 19 percent report getting them from a corner store, grocery store, gas station or bar.

The survey found that 26 percent of males said that they were more likely to get cigarettes from sources like corner stores, grocery stores and gas stations compared to 10 percent of females. However, 73 percent of females reported getting their last cigarette from a friend or family member compared to 46 percent of males.

Among the students who drank alcohol, 39 percent reported that someone gave it to them, while 28 percent say that they gave money to someone to buy it for them. The survey revealed that only 4 percent and 2 percent of those who drank alcohol reported obtaining alcohol from a liquor store or beer store.

Researchers found that students living in urban areas were more likely than students in rural areas to report that someone gave them alcohol. The survey also found that older students were significantly more likely than younger students to report that they got their alcohol by giving someone else money to buy it. In the other hand, younger students were more likely than older students to report that someone gave them alcohol.

"Despite efforts to curb youth smoking and prevent youth alcohol use, the survey tells us that youth are still able to easily access these substances, often from the very people who should be looking out for their well-being," Dr. Robert Mann, CAMH Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator on the survey, said in a news release. "It is also very clear that young people find it much easier to obtain cigarettes from corner stores than to obtain alcohol from liquor or beer stores. If we begin selling alcohol in corner stores, we can expect a large increase in underage drinking."

The survey involved 9,288 students from 40 public and Catholic schools boards across Ontario. 

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