Sports, alcohol and smoking

In the Youth in Norway study we have posed a great number of questions regarding the use of intoxicating substances, and this is one of the areas where we have gathered much knowledge about patterns and development of use over time. One of the topics we wanted to highlight was whether participation in sports played into this. Around half the participants of the study were active in organized sport while growing up.

In the graph we show the relationship between participation in sports, use of alcohol and the regular smoking of tobacco around age 20. Here we can see that those active in sports more often drank to the point of intoxication, but were more seldom smokers. Could it be that the socially active environment of organized sports tends to lead to a higher number of participants drinking alcohol? And do youth who are active in sports smoke less because they fear that this will affect their stamina and general health?

All in all about 25 percent of the participants were daily smokers at the age of 20. Today there are fewer who smoke. In 2010 we completed another study among youth which shows that less than 8 percent are daily smokers today. The 2004 smoking ban is likely an important factor in causing this decline.

Sports, alcohol smoking figure 1