STA, 6 November 2019 - Tobacco and alcohol seem to be losing appeal among Slovenian youth, according to a survey presented at a round table debate in Otočec on Wednesday. However, the use of cannabis is on the rise along with social media and video games addictions.
The results of the 2018 international survey Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children show that smoking as a habit has become less common among teenagers, especially 13- and 15-year-olds, heard the debate hosted by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).
The share of youth who were drunk at least twice in their lives also dropped in all age groups, NIJZ head Nina Pirnat said in presenting the results of the survey.
Meanwhile, the use of cannabis seems to be on the rise, as one in five 15-year-olds and almost half of 17-year-olds have tried it.
Another problem is internet additions, with one in ten young people addicted to social media and online videogames.
Martina Vuk, a state secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, said a breakthrough should be made in these fields such as the one that led to a ban on smoking in closed public spaces.
She said this had been achieved only after a broad social debate on smoking, so she believes a general social consensus should be reached on what is acceptable and what is not.
"For as long as we are highlighting wine as food, we do not have a clear picture on what we want," Vuk stressed.
The head of the Public Health Directorate at the ministry, Mojca Gobec, agreed, adding that debates on this must not be confined to experts. "We must raise the debate to the national level," she said.
Vuk thinks progress in this field is being obstructed by strong lobbies on the one hand and weak politicians on the the other.
The participants agreed though that a lot can be done in terms of prevention in schools and with various programmes promoting a healthy lifestyle.
The debate was held as part of a national conference to mark the National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, which the NIJZ hosts in cooperation with the education, health and labour ministries.
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