TUESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Many underage smokers and drinkers get their cigarettes and alcohol from family or friends, according to a Canadian study released Tuesday.
Researchers at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto surveyed more than 9,000 students in grades seven to 12 from different parts of Ontario, focusing on those who smoked or drank alcohol. Of those who smoked, 58 percent said they got their last cigarette from a friend or family member.
Meanwhile, 19 percent said they got their last cigarette at a corner store, grocery store, gas station or bar. Twenty-six percent of males said they were more likely to get cigarettes from these sources, compared with 10 percent of females. Seventy-three percent of females said they got their last cigarette from a friend or family member, compared with 46 percent of males.
Among students who drank alcohol, 39 percent said someone gave it to them, while 28 percent said they gave money to someone to buy the alcohol for them. Only 6 percent said they got their alcohol from a liquor store.
Of students in urban/suburban areas, 40 percent reported that someone gave them alcohol, compared with 35 percent in rural areas. Thirty-three percent of students in rural areas reported giving someone money to buy alcohol for them, compared with 27 percent of urban/suburban students.
Older students were much more likely to say they got their alcohol by giving someone else money to buy it -- 32 percent vs. 2 percent for younger students -- while 53 percent of younger students said someone gave them alcohol, compared with 37 percent of older students.
"Despite efforts to curb youth smoking and prevent youth alcohol use, the survey tells us that youth are still able to easily access these substances, often from the very people who should be looking out for their well-being," survey principal investigator Dr. Robert Mann, a senior scientist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, said in a center news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about underage drinking.