Young Brits turning their backs on booze culture
New figures have indicated a continued fall in alcohol intake among young Britons, especially students, over the past decade.
And academics said a cultural shift, increasing financial constraints and tougher action from the drinks industry may be behind that change in attitudes and behaviour.
The latest Department for Health report shows just 17 per cent of women, aged 16 to 24, drank more than six units of alcohol on their heaviest day of drinking, compared to 27 per cent in 2005.
And less than a quarter of men drank more than eight units compared to 32 per cent in 2005.
The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England report also reveals 12 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds drank alcohol the week before they were polled in 2011 compared to 26 per cent in 2001.
In 2010, more than half had never tasted alcohol before, compared to 39 per cent in 2001, while 32 per cent thought it was acceptable to drink, a drop of nearly 10 per cent from 2003.
The proportion of pupils who thought it was OK to get drunk at least once a week has nearly halved from the 20 per cent recorded in 2003.
Professor Fiona Measham, a criminologist at Durham University, who has been studying drinking patterns for more than 20 years, said young people are clearly shunning the alcohol excesses of previous generations.
"From about 2002 onwards, the tide turned. I've seen it in my students and I've seen it when I do my research in pubs and clubs," the Daily Mail quoted her as telling The Observer.
"Something is changing, a cultural shift, there is no longer the desire to go out and get completely obliterated," she stated.
Prof. Measham, who believes drug-taking is also in decline, said the latest generation is more responsible but stressed legislation has curtailed free drinks, happy hours and irresponsible promotions.
She said fears of debt among students, high unemployment and more sophisticated ID schemes are also having an impact.