Youngsters picking up bad habits

One in five Greek adolescents is a regular smoker and one in seven admits to drinking alcohol two or three times a week, according to a new European study which shows Greek youngsters as having a greater tendency to embrace these bad habits than their European counterparts. Four in 10 – or 42 percent – of Greek adolescents admit to drinking alcohol to excess regularly, according to the study, carried out by the Athens-based University Research Institute for Mental Health on a sample of 10,455 secondary school students aged between 13 and 18 in 35 different countries. Compared to youngsters in other European countries, the Greeks claimed to drink more frequently, although fewer reported experiences of extreme drunkenness. Around half of the Greek youths questioned claimed to have tried a cigarette at least once, while one in five said they smoked regularly. One in 10 admitted to being a «heavy smoker,» puffing on more than 10 cigarettes a day. Some 12 percent of the Greek youths claimed to have taken drugs at least once, while one in four boys aged between 17 and 18 said they had taken drugs. Meanwhile another study by the nongovernmental organization NEOI has found that Greek teenagers and young people are embracing another bad habit – that of viewing pornography and other «inappropriate» images on the Internet. Of the 3,000 respondents aged between 15 and 26 questioned, nearly half (47.9 percent) of the boys and men admitted to have visited sites containing «inappropriate» material, while the same applied to 34.6 percent of girls and women of the same ages. Of the 3,000 respondents, only half (52 percent) admitted to being aware of the risks involved in surfing the Internet. According to police, some 20,000 pornographic photographs of children aged 8 to 17 are uploaded on the Internet every week.

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