Teens turning their back on booze
AT 16, Taylor Stone knows she is not legally allowed to drink alcohol, but that's not the only reason she abstains from it.
Like many other Aussie teenagers, this Grafton girl is part of a new wave of youth who have wised up to the effects of under-age drinking.
"I just don't think you need to have a drink to have a good time," Taylor said.
Recent research in the medical journal Addiction revealed half of the country's teenagers aged 14-17 did not drink - a positive improvement from the 33% in 2001.
"I do know people my age who drink all the time, but it's just not my thing," Taylor said.
"It's a good feeling to stand up for myself and not give in to peer pressure when people offer me a drink."
The study compared 1477 teens in 2001 and 1075 in 2010.
It looked at reasons why teens chose not to drink under-age including good education about the dangers, re-affirmation that is it okay to not drink as well as this generation having a strong focus on health and fitness.
Internet and social media is also thought to have played a part in the change of attitudes as some teenagers turn online for entertainment instead of socialising in group environments where alcohol is more likely to emerge.
Taylor doubted her attitude to drinking would change once she hit 18.
"I think in my lifetime I will obviously drink a couple of times, but if I'm being honest I really don't think my attitude will change much," she said.
The study highlighted that drug use and smoking had also reduced in the same group.
Irresponsible use of alcohol can lead to:
- Binge drinking or drinking too much on a single occasion
- Drink driving
- Unsafe sex
- Impaired brain development
- Injury or death.