Source: The Mercury, Thursday 1 December 1994, p. 11


Schoolgirls are
smokers, drinkers

 
  MORE than a quarter of 11
and 12-year-old Australian
schoolgirls have smoked
cigarettes, and many of those
have drunk alcohol.
  This was revealed yester-
day in a study by the Nation-
al Health and Medical Re-
search Council.
  The research, released at
the National Women and
Drugs Conference in Sydney
also suggests anti-drug cam-
paigns may not adequately
address the risk factors-
associated with drug use by
girls.
  The major influences iden-
tified by the survey included
the behaviour of the girls'
friends, their literacy level,
and parental example.
  The study's author, Dr
Graeme Hawthorne of the
NHMRCs National Centre
for Health Program Evalua-
tion, said anti-drug cam-
paigns which only targeted
issues such as health, know-
ledge of drugs and girls' atti-
tudes would have a minimal
impact.
  Girls were more than
seven times more likely to
smoke if their friends did and
2.3 times more likely to
smoke if their parents did.
And girls with poor litera-
cy rates were five times more
likely to have smoked in the
last month than girls with
high literacy skills, the re-
search found.
  The national study sur-
veyed 1,400 girls at 86 prim-
ary schools.
  Twenty-six per cent re-
ported having smoked at
some stage in their lives and
six per cent said they had
smoked in the previous
month.
  Six per cent said they had
drunk a whole glass of alco-
hol in the previous month.
  Girls who smoked were 4.9
times more likely to have
drunk alcohol, and girls
whose parents drank were
3.8 per cent more likely to
have consumed alcohol in the
previous month than girls
with non-drinking parents.


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