Under-12s big smoke, drink fans

Primary school pupils spend over a tenth of their pocket money on alcohol and cigarettes, a consumer watchdog warned yesterday, adding that Greek children start drinking and smoking from as early an age as 7. The Consumer Protection Institute (INKA) blamed the problem on over-indulgent parents. «Pocket money, which is usually high, has destructive effects as far as consumption of alcohol and tobacco products is concerned,» an INKA report said, adding that children enjoy their first illicit puff – and their first tipple, usually with parental approval – between the ages of 7 and 9. By the age of 12, INKA said, children are spending 11 percent of their pocket money on alcohol and cigarettes, and the level of consumption has become «worrying.» Over the next three years of their life, children devote 32 percent of their disposable income to financing their habits, which, between the ages of 16 and 18, account for 47 percent of their spending. INKA said most children get three to five euros a day from their parents, while 5 percent are given no pocket money at all.