Alcohol consumption among students has stabilized since 2017. Smoking of cigarettes and joints will also no longer decrease, according to studies by the Trimbos Institute, the GGDs and RIVM on Tuesday.

In 2019, 47 percent of 12- to 16-year-old students have ever consumed alcohol. In groups 7 and 8 of primary education this is 14 percent.

The decline in smoking school students has also stabilized. Since 1999, the percentage of young people who have ever lit a cigarette has dropped from 54 percent to 17 percent in the past two years. Twice as many students smoked at VMBO (24 percent) than at VWO (12 percent).

Nitrous oxide use and the consumption of non-alcoholic drinks increased in recent years. "These are products with an often more innocent image, but of which it is insufficiently known what the effects and risks are in the short and longer term," writes the Trimbos Institute.

"Health professionals, for example, are concerned that drinking non-alcoholic beverages may make the step to drinking alcoholic beverages smaller."


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Trimbos underlines prevention policy

According to the Trimbos Institute, the stagnated drop in alcohol and tobacco underlines the need for prevention policy. "This can be done, for example, by intensifying actions in the National Prevention Agreement and the regional prevention agreements that are still being concluded," says the Trimbos Institute.

The National Prevention Agreement was signed in December 2018. The agreement's more than 70 signatories focus on a smoke-free generation by 2040 and less obesity disease, as well as want people to be more aware of the dangers of alcohol.

Excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy food and smoking are the main causes of illness in the Netherlands, resulting in 35,000 deaths and € 9 billion in health care expenditure per year.