The number of young teenagers drinking alcohol has dropped, a new report by the NHS Information Centre has revealed.

The percentage of 11 to 15 year olds who had tried alcohol fell from 51 per cent to 45 per cent the figures, which relate to 2009-10, revealed.

The number of teens taking drugs had also fallen, from 29 per cent in 2001, to 18 per cent.

The survey, which involved more than 7,200 pupils in 246 schools, also found that 1 in 20 pupils also smoked.

Attitudes to alcohol, smoking and drug-taking have also changed, with only 32 per cent saying it was OK for someone their age to drink once a week, down from 46 per cent.

Tim Straughton, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: "Our figures point to an increasingly intolerant attitude among young people in today's society when it comes to the use of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.

"As well as a reduction in the percentage who say they partake in these behaviours; a shrinking number think that drinking and drunkenness is acceptable among their peers."

Chris Sorek, chief executive of Drinkaware, said: "These statistics are not just encouraging because they show a drop in the number of children who have tried alcohol, but also because they show a positive shift in attitudes.  To see that fewer children are tolerant of their peers drinking is an early sign of a change in the nation's drinking culture."

Posted by Robert Mair on 28.7.11 Please send your comments on this article to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com