Roughly half of Israeli high school students drink alcohol regularly, a new study shows, while one in eight smokes cigarettes.
The Health Ministry publicized the survey of alcohol consumption and smoking among Israeli youth at a hearing of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse on Monday, revealing the worrisome statistics.
According to the study, 5.0% of boys in junior high school regularly smoke tobacco products, while 2.3% of girls do the same. Broken down by type, 2.3% of male students say they regularly smoke cigarettes, while 3.6% say they regularly use nargilas.
Among female students, 1.0% say they regularly smoke cigarettes, while 1.8% use nargilas.
In Israeli high schools, the problem is far more severe, with 23.3% of male students smoking tobacco, compared to 10.6% of female students. Thirteen percent of male high schoolers say they regularly smoke cigarettes, while 17.1% say they use nargilas. Among female students, 5.0% say they smoke cigarettes, while 8.4% reported using nargilas on a regular basis.
The most worrying figures, however, related to the consumption of alcohol, with 65% of male Jewish high school students reporting that they drink, along with 47% of female Jewish high school students.
It should be noted that unlike in most states in the US, in Israel the legal age for purchasing and consuming alcohol is 18. Additionally, while high school typically spans four years in the US, from grades 9-12, in many areas in Israel, only grades 10 through 12 are included in high school, with 9th grade being part of junior high school.