Health chiefs hail ‘sensible’ St Helens youngsters

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Young people in St Helens being more sensible about alcohol and tobacco.

That’s the key finding of the bi-annual Trading Standards North West surveinto attitudes toward alcohol and tobacco among young people.

The new research shows that the percentage of 14-17 year olds claiming to smoke in St Helens falling from 18 per cent in 2013 to eight per cent in 2015. That’s lower than for the North West overall (10 per cent), and among the lowest of all the local authorities in the region.

The survey report also finds that increasing percentages of 14-17 year olds in St Helens are drinking alcohol less often or not at all - with the percentage of those surveyed claiming that they never drink alcohol more than doubling to 50 per cent in 2015.

There have also been continuing falls in the percentages of 14-17 year olds claiming to drink in pubs, clubs and outside in streets and parks in St Helens.

Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron, St Helens Council’s Cabinet member for Green Smart and Sustainable Borough said: “This is very encouraging - as alcohol and tobacco are harmful to young people’s health.

“Drinking too much can also lead to them being victims of crime or resulting consequences that can haunt them into adult life.

“A combination of rigorous enforcement action by Trading Standards against retailers who sell age-restricted products to children, and promotion by St Helens Council of the negative impacts tobacco and alcohol can have on health as a whole, are proving really effective.”

Over 7,100 young people aged 14-17 completed the online survey this year across 18 North West local authorities.

The survey is undertaken by Trading Standards Services with the help of local schools.