In this section, overall trends measured across countryspecific means of 25 countries are reported between 1995 and 2015. The 25 countries included are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Faroes, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine (Figure 10). Trends for 15 key variables are shown in Table 14 and trends by gender are graphically depicted in Figures 11-25.
Figure 10. Countries included in the 25-country average (marked in blue)
Table 13. Overview of ESPAD surveys conducted between 1995 and 2015 by country: sample size and participation rateDownload XLS
|n||% a||n||% a||n||% a||n||% a||n||%||n a||% a|
|Belgium (Flanders)||.||.||.||.||2320 c||88||1889 d||54 e||1798 f||58 e||1771 f||56 e|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH)||.||.||.||.||.||.||2973 g||100||3813 d||99||.||.|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina (RS)||.||.||.||.||.||.||2609 g||97||3132||98||.||.|
|Czech Republic||2962||100||3579||99||3195||100||3901||100||3913||98||2738||96 e|
|Denmark||2439||78||1790||56||2978||65||877||46||2181||42 e||1670||26 e|
|FYR Macedonia k||.||.||5199||100||.||.||2452 g||97||.||.||2428||98|
|Isle of Man||.||.||.||.||721||100 e||740||100||. i||.||.||.|
|Netherlands||.||.||2615||n.a.||2095||97||2091||98||2044 d||50 e||1684 d||43 e|
|Russia (Moscow)||.||.||2937||95||1925||92||3939 j||96 e||1757||77||.||.|
|Serbia||.||.||.||.||.||.||6156 g||94 e||6084||97||.||.|
|United Kingdom||7722||46 e||2641||74 e||2068||55 e||2179||40||1712||5||.||.|
b Estimated from the maximum number of classes that could participate.
c Flanders and Wallonia.
d Data collected in autumn.
e School participation rate (class participation rates not available).
f Data collected in previous autumn.
g Data collected in spring 2008.
h Five federal states: Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia.
i Data collected but not delivered.
k Official name former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Red typeface: countries included in the 25-country average.
n.a. = not available.
Table 14. ESPAD average for selected indicators based on 25 countries: 1995-2015Download XLS
|Perceived availability of cannabis||22||30||33||33||32||32|
|Early onset of daily cigarette use a||10||9||10||7||7||4|
|Early onset of daily cannabis use a||2||2||3||3||3||3|
|Lifetime use of cigarettes||67||68||66||59||56||47|
|Current cigarette use b||32||36||33||29||29||22|
|Daily cigarette use b||20||24||23||18||18||13|
|Lifetime alcohol use||89||90||90||88||86||81|
|Current alcohol use b||56||61||63||60||58||47|
|Heavy episodic drinking c||36||39||40||42||41||35|
|Lifetime illicit drug use||11||17||20||18||19||18|
|Lifetime cannabis use||11||16||19||17||18||17|
|Lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis||3||6||5||7||6||5|
|Current cannabis use b||4||6||8||7||7||7|
|Lifetime inhalant use||8||9||9||9||9||8|
|Lifetime use of tranquillisers or sedatives without a doctor’s prescription||8||7||7||7||7||6|
b Last 30 days.
c More than five drinks on one occasion at least once in the last 30 days.
Availability of cannabis
The average proportion of students who answered that they would find it easy (combined positive responses on ‘very easy’ and ‘fairly easy’) to obtain cannabis, if they wanted to, increased from 1995 to 2003 in both genders and levelled off thereafter (Figure 11). Rates among boys are slightly higher than among girls. Overall, the perceived availability of cannabis among boys increased from 23 % to 33 % and among girls from 21 % to 30 %.
Early onset of substance use
On average, between 1995 and 2003 rates of early onset of daily smoking (that is, at the age of 13 or younger) were rather stable at about 10 %, but rates dropped thereafter to 4 % in 2015, indicating a strong decrease in early onset daily smoking over the last 10 years (Table 14). Genderspecific trends are almost parallel, with slightly lower rates in girls than boys (1-2 percentage points difference in recent surveys; Figure 12).
Rates of cannabis use at the age of 13 years or younger increased slightly until 2003 among girls and until 2007 among boys and stabilised thereafter (Figure 13). Trends by gender are almost parallel, with girls’ rates being slightly lower than boys’ rates.
On average, lifetime prevalence rates of smoking showed a stable trend between 1995 and 2003 and decreased thereafter (Table 14). Rates of lifetime smoking among boys and girls follow this general trend. However, the gender gap in lifetime smoking rates, still visible in 1995, closed in 2015 (Figure 14). Similar trends can be observed for current smoking and daily smoking (Table 14). Rates of current (last- 30-day) use decreased by 10 percentage points between 1995 and 2015 (Table 14; Figure 15); reductions in daily use amounted to 7 percentage points (Figure 16).
The prevalence of lifetime as well as current (last-30-day) use of alcohol decreased between 2003 and 2015 (Table 14; Figures 17 and 18). No gender differences in trends can be observed, with the exception of constantly higher rates among boys.
The prevalence of heavy episodic drinking, although showing the same level in 2015 as 20 years before, peaked in the middle of the 2000s and has decreased since then. However, as shown in Figure 19, rates of heavy episodic drinking generally increased among girls, resulting in a narrowing of the gender differences over time.
Illicit drug use
Generally, between 1995 and 2003, an increase can be seen in the prevalence of illicit drug use, most of which occurred between the first two surveys. Since then, the prevalence has remained largely unchanged. Trends in illicit drug use experience among boys and girls follow the general trend, with girls’ rates being about 6 percentage points lower than boys’ rates (Figure 20). Trends for lifetime cannabis use are similar to the trends for any illicit drug use, with rates being only slightly lower (Table 14 and Figure 21). Prevalence rates of lifetime cannabis use as well as current (last-30-day) use for both genders peaked in 2003 and stabilised thereafter (Figures 21 and 22).
Lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis rose to a peak in 2007 (Table 14; Figure 23). Since 2007, the rates appear to have slightly decreased. This trend is also seen for boys and girls, with a consistent gender gap of 1-2 percentage points.
The use of other psychoactive substances such as inhalants shows generally stable lifetime prevalence rates over the observed period. The gender-specific curves reveal a narrowing and, by the end, closure of the gender gap, with rates among boys slightly decreasing but rather unchanged rates among girls (Figure 24).
The lifetime prevalence rates for the use of tranquillisers or sedatives without a doctor’s prescription show a slightly downward trend, with similar trends for boys and girls. Tranquillisers or sedatives are the only psychoactive substances that were taken more frequently by girls than boys (Figure 25).
Figure 11. Perceived availability of cannabis by gender; students responding cannabis ‘fairly easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain: 25-country trend 1995- 2015 (percentage)
Figure 12. Daily cigarette use at the age of 13 or younger by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 13. Cannabis use at the age of 13 or younger by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 14. Lifetime use of cigarettes by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 15. Cigarette use in the last 30 days by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 16. Daily cigarette use by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 17. Lifetime alcohol use by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 18. Alcohol use in the last 30 days by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 19. Heavy episodic drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion) during the last 30 days by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 20. Lifetime use of illicit drugs by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 21. Lifetime use of cannabis by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 22. Cannabis use in the last 30 days by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 23. Lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 24. Lifetime use of inhalants by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)
Figure 25. Lifetime use of tranquillisers or sedatives without a doctor’s prescription by gender: 25-country trend 1995-2015 (percentage)