More Than One Quarter Of Young Adults Choose Not To Drink Alcohol

Hands holding glasses with beer on a table at pub in London. A group of friends is enjoying beer time in the city close up on the glasses

The study says the increase in non-drinking "suggests that this behaviour maybe becoming more acceptable among young people, whereas risky behaviours such as binge drinking may be less normalised; both trends are to be welcomed from a public-health standpoint and should be capitalised on going forward." .

Researchers said it pointed to the norms around drinking appearing to be changing.

In the past, non-drinkers were relatively rare and treated with suspicion, but now the practice is now found across various segments of society and becoming "more mainstream", the journal said.

Researchers found that 29% of 16- to 24-year olds were non-drinkers in 2015, up from 18% in 2005.

But the increased rates in non-drinking were not observed among smokers, ethnic minorities and those with poor mental health, according to the study, which analysed data on nearly 10,000 young people.

Recent cultural developments among young people that place abstinence at their core, including Club Soda-the mindful drinking movement and morning raves without the alcohol, support these claims.

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Study author Dr Linda Ng Fat said: 'Increases in non-drinking among young people were found across a broad range of groups, including those living in northern or southern regions of England, among the white population, those in full-time education, in employment and across all social classes and healthier groups. There has also been a reduction in the numbers drinking above recommended limits and binge drinking.

Increased research around alcohol's impact on health and wellbeing could also be a factor in the trend, as the age group becomes more health conscious.

Another factor is that younger people may be more health conscious.

The study that looked at the drinking habits of nearly 10,000 16 to 24-year-olds, also found the non-drinking trend was spread across many social classes and geographical regions.

According to Dr. Fat these results are also consistent with other findings such as a decline in smoking and recreational drugs abuse along with other risky behaviors. Binge drinking too declined from 27 percent to 18 percent over these 10 years. The recent campaigns such as Public Health England's "adopt alcohol-free days" specifically targeted at older consumers who tend to drink lighter but more frequently, but have not have not experienced a similar increase in non-drinking, is an example of this.

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