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Alcohol consumption among teenagers triples during Christmas, New Year: Assocham
Alcohol consumption among teenager’s in the age group of 14 to 19 years triples during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve, especially in cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Chandigarh etc, reveals a survey conducted by industry body Assocham's Social Development Foundation (ASDF).
More than birthdays and traditional weekends, December and January are the periods of greatest alcohol consumption of months, reveals the latest survey on “Consumption of alcohol during Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2013” points out that the average alcohol consumption of teenagers triples during the festive seasons, from age 28 in the 1985s, it has come down to age 14 now, adds the survey.

“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”, said D S Rawat, Secretary General Assocham while releasing the survey.

The survey in which more than 1,500 teenagers (14 to 19) and 1,000 of age group of 20 to 29 conducted, a quarter of respondents reported shelling off between Rs.1,000 and Rs. 10,000 only on alcohol during Christmas and New Year’s eve celebrations. One-third of Delhiites consume three times a week during the festive season, the survey found.

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, reveals the survey.

The major cities in which respondents were interviewed 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 is 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”, said Rawat.

With Christmas parties, end of year celebrations and upcoming new years, alcohol consumption is likely to increase more than 180% this season as against 105% per cent in the previous year, added Rawat.

In November 2011, Assocham survey found a 100% 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 percent of users and makes them aggressive, said Dr. B K Rao, Chairman of Assocham Health Committee and Chairman Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

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 percent teenagers said that having one drink at parties is something everyone does, for 72 percent 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 survey.

“More than 52% of teens who admitted drinking said they drink when they are upset; 8% said they drink alone; 2% said they drink when they are bored; and 47% said they drink to "get high", findings of 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-flavored alcoholic beverages are particularly appealing to girls who often do not like the taste of alcohol, adds the Assocham findings.

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.

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 drink alcohol, disclosed the survey.

The survey further points out, “low pricing, a lack of standardized proof of age schemes and poor enforcement makes it easy for unscrupulous retailers to sell to underage kids, said Mr. Rawat. 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.

Survey Findings:
  • Have tried alcohol 65%
  • Have not tried alcohol 20%
  • Have drunk fruit-flavoured alcoholic beverages 45%
Reasons are:
  • Lack of supervision
  • Peer pressure
  • Depression
  • Easy access to alcohol
  • Family or academic problems
  • Stress and poor coping skills
Long term effects:
  • 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
  • Occupational effects    
  • Breakdown of family structures
Creative ways of sneaking in alcohol are trendy among the youth:

Cafes and fast-food restaurants are serving beer. Pubs and bars have slated early evenings as cheaper Happy Hour. There's also the hookah lounge in metros. The flavoured hookah often has alcohol as base, especially vodka or wine.

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