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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Drug Use, Smoking and Drinking Among Young People in England - 2007

Official statistics, National statistics, Survey
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Date Range:
01 Jan 2007 to 31 Dec 2007


This report contains results from an annual survey of secondary school pupils aged in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15). Overall, 7,831 pupils in 273 schools in England completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2007.

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) carried out the survey on behalf of The NHS Information Centre for health and social care and the Home Office; the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) also have an interest in the statistics.

This is the most recent survey in a series that began in 1982. Each survey since 1998 has included a core set of questions on smoking, drinking and drug use and, since 2000, the remainder of the questionnaire has focused in alternate years on smoking and drinking or on drug misuse. The emphasis of the 2007 survey is on drug misuse.

Key Facts

In summary for pupils aged 11 to 15 in England, 2007:

  • ten per cent of pupils said they had taken drugs in the last month, down from 12 per cent in 2001
  • six per cent of pupils aged 11 to 15 smoked regularly (at least once a week); lower than at any time since pupils' smoking was first measured in the survey in 1982
  • one in five pupils (20 per cent) had drunk alcohol in the last seven days, a proportion which has declined from 26 per cent in 2001
  • 29 per cent of pupils reported recent smoking (in the last seven days), drinking (in the last seven days) or drug use (in the last month). Just four per cent of pupils had done all three recently
  • boys and girls had a similar prevalence for recent drug use and for recent drinking. However, girls were more likely to smoke regularly. Among those who drank, boys average alcohol consumption was higher than girls (13.1 units per week for boys compared with 12.4 for girls).

Drug use

  • 25 per cent of pupils said they had tried drugs at least once. 17 per cent of pupils reported taking drugs in the last year. These proportions have fallen since 2001 when they were 29 per cent and 20 per cent respectively
  • pupils were most likely to have taken cannabis than other drugs; nine per cent had done so in the last year, an overall decrease from 13 per cent in 2001
  • four per cent of pupils reported taking a Class A drug in the last year. This proportion has remained stable since 2001.


  • there has been a long-term decline in the proportion of pupils who have tried smoking, from 53 per cent in 1982 to 33 per cent in 2007.
  • pupils classified as regular smokers smoked an average of 44.1 cigarettes a week, approximately six a day. Occasional smokers (defined as smoking less than one cigarette a week) smoked an average of 4.3 cigarettes a week.


  • the proportion of 11 to 15 year olds who have never drunk alcohol has risen in recent years, from 39 per cent in 2001 to 46 per cent in 2007
  • the method of calculating pupils' alcohol consumption in units has been revised this year in line with other surveys. The revised method of calculating units has resulted in a higher, probably more accurate, estimate of alcohol consumption. It should be emphasised that this does not reflect a sudden change in actual consumption by pupils between 2006 and 2007. Using the original method, average consumption has varied from year to year with no clear pattern
  • using the revised method of calculating units, pupils who drank in the last week consumed an average of 12.7 units, equivalent to over six pints of normal strength beer or nearly one and a half bottles of wine.


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Last edited: 11 April 2018 4:09 pm