Children who fail to attend school are much more likely to be
regular smokers, drinkers and drug-takers, research has
Pupils who have been truanting are seven times more likely to
have smoked than non truanters – 35 per cent compared with 5 per
Just over half of 11- to 15-year-olds who missed lessons without
permission had consumed alcohol, compared to less than a fifth of
non truants, found the survey.
More than a third of truants said they had taken drugs in the
past month, compared to 6 per cent who had not played truant.
The findings are from Smoking, Drinking and Drug Misuse
Among Young People in England in 2002. The survey involved
questioning 10,000 pupils at 321 English schools.
When considering the effect of household income on the behaviour
of children, it found that pupils who received free school meals
were more likely to be regular smokers than those who did not (14
per cent compared to 10 per cent).
They were also slightly more likely to have used drugs in the
last month (13 per cent compared to 11 per cent). But they were
less likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week (22 per cent
compared to 25 per cent).
When considering all children, the number of 11- to 15-year-olds
who had taken drugs decreased from 20 per cent in 2001 to 18 per
cent in 2002.
But in the past month the number of girls who said they had
taken drugs fell from 11 per cent to 9 per cent while for boys the
number remained unchanged at 12 per cent.