Study links heavy drinking to higher education and smoking
Research by University of Glasgow finds drinking trends are 'more varied' than first thought.
Young adults are more likely to drink heavily if they smoke or have attended college or university, according to new research.
The study, which was led by a team of researchers from the University of Glasgow, considered adolescent smoking, higher education, social backgrounds and alcohol consumption.
The findings, which are published on Tuesday in research paper Addiction, are based on cohort studies from across Scotland, England and Wales.
They show those from a more deprived background were more likely to smoke and less likely to enter higher education.
Teenage smokers were more likely to drink weekly from a young age, and more heavily in early adulthood.
Young adults who went to college or university were also more likely to drink to excess, however.
Academics concluded these patterns were consistent across the groups which were examined.
Dr Michael Green, research associate at the university's MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, said: "What this study shows are the different pathways - smoking and higher education - into heavy drinking, depending on young people's socio-economic backgrounds.
"These opposing pathways might help explain why previous research on inequalities in young people's drinking has had inconsistent results.
"It appears that heavy drinking in early adulthood is more likely for both adolescent smokers and those who go to university or college."
Dr Green said the findings suggested that the trends which lead young people to drink more than the recommended amount are "more varied and opposing" than previously thought.
The authors believe that the study may be able to support how issues around drinking alcohol are addressed with young people.
Dr Green said: "Currently interventions focused only on heavy drinking in universities/colleges are targeting a more advantaged population and may neglect more disadvantaged drinkers.
"There may be common causes affecting disadvantaged young people that lead to both smoking and heavy drinking. If we can identify and understand these it may be easier to intervene to prevent both."