Teens picking up bad habits

The number of adolescents smoking, drinking alcohol and experimenting with drugs increased steadily between 2006 and 2010, according to a new study by the Athens-based University Research Institute for Mental Health.

The study found that two in five Greeks aged under 15 claim to have smoked cigarettes at least once, with one in three admitting to drinking alcohol at least once a week and 7.2 percent saying they have tried cannabis. The survey, conducted on 4,944 adolescents at the end of last year, showed that 42 percent had smoked at least once in their lives, with one in 10 admitting to smoking an average of six cigarettes daily. As for alcohol, one in three 15-year-olds admitted to indulging at least once a week, with most opting for beer and alcopops.

Between 2006 and 2010, the number of adolescents who drink alcohol at least once a week rose to 35.3 percent from 27.6 percent. The increase of cannabis use was sharper, with 7.2 percent of adolescents claiming to have tried it at least once compared to 3.7 percent in 2006.