Teens – alcohol consumption triples during Christmas, New Year.
By S. C. Dhall
Alcohol consumption among teenager’s triples during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve between ages of 14 to 19, especially in cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Chandigarh etc. More than birthdays and traditional weekends, December and January are the periods of greatest alcohol consumption of months. The average alcohol consumption of teenagers tripled during the festive seasons, from age 28 in the 1985s, it has come down to age 14 now, Reasons for rising liquor consumption among teens include easy money, availability of imported brands, absent parents and more spending power are some of the major reasons that contribute to the high consumption of alcohol among the teenagers
Almost half (69 per cent) of youngsters aged between 20 to 29 admitted binge drinking during the new year season, with men more likely to drink too much than women,
The major cities in which respondents were interviewed by the assocham include Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahemdabad, Kolkata, Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Dehradun and interestingly it was observed that consumption of liquor is more in vogue in Delhi-NCR, followed by Mumbai, Goa, Chandigarh and Bangalore.
The peer pressure, plenty of pocket money and absentee parents mean the drinking age is dropping in metros. There has been a marked increase in alcohol consumption among teenagers and are strongly influenced by males in the family.
With Christmas parties, end-of- year celebrations and upcoming new year, alcohol consumption is likely to increase more than 180% this season as against 105 per cent per cent in the previous year.
It has also been observed 100 per cent rise in drinking among the 15-18 age group in the last 10 years. The greater problem these days is not alcoholism but drinking problem, which affects 60 per cent of users and makes them aggressive.
The following statistics are sad and shocking, as per the government’s strict norms for underage drinking. Children as young as 13 have tried Bacardi Breezers or vodkas at stay-over nights with their friends. While responding, 52 per cent teenagers said that having one drink at parties is something everyone does, for 72 per cent being “cool” meant having three to four drinks. Drinking seems to be quite the normal thing among the 13-18 age group in the metropolitan cities, adds the survey.
More than 52 per cent of teens who admitted drinking said they drink when they are upset; 8% they drink alone; 2 per cent said they drink when they are bored; and 47 per cent said they drink to “get high”, says the survey.
Majority of teens consume alcohol on the occasion of New Year, Christmas, birthdays, farewell and some other occasion.
Teenage boys are much more likely than teenage girls to say they have tried alcohol. Fruit-flavoured alcoholic beverages are particularly appealing to girls who often do not like the taste of alcohol,
Usage of alcohol has also resulted in deliberate self-harm, high-risk sexual behaviour, HIV infection, tuberculosis, oesophageal cancer, liver disease, duodenal ulcer and many more, adds the paper.
Have tried alcohol 65 per cent
Have not tried alcohol 20 per cent
Have drunk fruit-flavoured alcoholic beverages 45 per cent
Lack of supervision
Easy access to alcohol
Family or academic problems
Stress and poor coping skills
Increased risk of cancer – especially breast, throat/mouth, oesophageal, liver, stomach
Increased risk of other diseases including cirrhosis, cognitive problems, obesity, hypertension, dementia, psychological conditions, damage to reproductive organs and others
Correlating concerns such as smoking and poor dietary behaviour
Nutritional deficiencies and related health concerns
Financial and legal implications
Breakdown of family structures
Creative ways of sneaking in alcohol are trendy among the youth:
Cafes and fast-food restaurants serving beer, pubs and bars slating early evenings as cheaper Happy Hour, alcohol is within easy reach
There’s also the hookah lounge in metros. The flavoured hookah often has alcohol as base, especially vodka or wine.
Family history of substance abuse, prenatal exposure to alcohol, poor parent-child relationships and inadequate parent-child communication, conduct disorders, rebelliousness, depression, anxiety, academic problems, positive attitudes about alcohol, stress and poor coping skills all contribute to alcohol drinking, disclosed the survey.
The survey further points out, “low pricing, a lack of standardised proof of age schemes and poor enforcement makes it easy for unscrupulous retailers to sell to underage kids.” By introducing on-the-spot fines for selling drink during the Christmas/ New Year celebrations to under-19s, proof of age before purchasing, may reduce the consumption of alcohol at an early age.