Prague, March 1 (CTK) – The attitude of Czech male secondary school students towards smoking is influenced by their peer group, while female students are not affected by their classmates, according to a new analysis presented by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Analysis (IDEA).
The choice of secondary school therefore has a strong impact on the attitude of the students to smoking and drinking alcohol, which would affect their health and lifespan, the analysis concludes.
If half of the students in the class smoke, the possibility that a boy will start smoking after moving from primary to secondary school increases by 10 percent. It is also important whether the boys go to bars and pubs together because the influence of peers is stronger there, the analysis says.
A boy who goes to pubs with peer smokers is far more likely to start smoking than a boy who does not go to pubs with them.
The authors of the analysis write that the influence of collective drinking in restaurants should be reflected on the debate on a possible ban on smoking in Czech pubs.
Next week, Czech parliament will begin to discuss a bill introducing a ban on smoking in pubs.
The authors of the analysis say the discussion mostly focuses on the harmful effects of active and passive smoking and on the restriction of the rights of pub owners and it does not deal with youth smoking.
IDEA, which is a think tank of the Prague-based Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education – Economics Institute (CERGE-EI), based its findings on data gained by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD).
ESPAD surveys showed that Czech youths, along with their Danish and German peers, drink more alcohol that other European students and that they smoke cigarettes more often than most of the other European students.
ESPAD collects data on smoking, alcohol drinking and drug use among 16-year-olds once in four years.
According to the latest ESPAD survey from 2011, half a male and nearly one third female 16-year-old Czech students drank alcohol more than 40 times in their lives. During the past month, one in five boys and one in ten girls drank alcohol more than 10 times.
The survey showed that 27 percent of the boys and 24 percent of the girls smoked at least one cigarette a day; 10 percent of the boys and 6 percent of the girls smoked more than ten cigarettes a day. Half of the students said that more than half of their friends smoked cigarettes and two out of five said that most of their friends get drunk from time to time.