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