Year: 2004
Module: Health
Variable:Q16 - COMMENTS

Below is a selection of open-ended responses to the question:

'Is there anything else you want to say about smoking, drinking, drugs and sexual matters?'

NB: Square brackets indicate where the text was edited for grammatical reasons.

A person's friends are usually the reason someone smokes or takes drugs, but I believe that all the advertisements are making a difference.

All four of these topics are very much present in our society today and many young people are pressured into them. I strongly disagree with smoking as I've seen the long term effects and I think it's basically wasting your life. However I have the opinion that life throws many situations at you.Therefore many young people want to experience drinking, etc.

All of three issues (smoking, drinking, drugs) can damage your health to an extent of no return.

Also greatly influenced by the television, i.e.advertisements, documentaries, facts and figures (real life matters). However, these things influenced me into not wanting to do it.

Although many schools educate pupils on such matters, they still need to improve such education. Many pupils are still fooled by the media's presentation of these as being 'cool'. The police also need to crack down on underage drinking.

Always use a condom! Do not use illegal drugs! Do not start smoking as it is very hard to stop! When you are out drinking, keep an eye on your drink as it could be spiked!

At the moment most teenagers don't listen to school lessons, discussions, etc. So there are a lot of teenagers smoking, drinking and involved in the use of drugs; schools need to make the lessons more enjoyable or at least use different methods to get their message across to pupils.

Being a Christian, God pulled me through all of these things. I think that God should be a bigger part of people's lives.

By being educated about these things it has changed my view but ultimaltely it has been discussions amongst my peer group that has influenced my decisions.

Certain media publishings promote drinking and these are often aimed at young people. The reason for so many young people in Ireland going out at weekends just to get drinks is because it is deemed the "normal, cool" thing to do by role models of which we as young people fall victim to! Then we read on front page tabloid newspapers of the recent scandalous events involving our "icons". This is a type of brainwashing telling people of our age to do the same. What I most resent about drinking alcohol is the fact that many have claimed "you need alcohol to have a good time". In my opinion this says very little about the persons own self worth and emphasises major unsecurity and urgent ongoing problems within their family.

Children are having sex far too young! I still consider myself to be a child and believe those my age are not emotionally prepared for sex, certainly not mentally prepared. I don't think they realise what they are letting themselves in for.

Children from a younger age are becoming much more sexually orientated.

Children need to be shown from an early age the gruesome effects of all of these.

Concerning sexual matters I do not think that they are properly explained, ie. the physical and emotional sides.

Do you actually know the consquences of smoking, drinking, drug taking and sexual intercourse?

Don't take drugs and use a condom.

Don't take or do anything if you don't want to and also don't let anyone pressure you into doing anything you're not sure of.

Don't take or do anything if you don't want to and also don't let anyone pressure you into doing anything you're not sure of.

Don't try it because your friend have - try these things when your ready.

Drinking is looked upon at harshly, while drug-dealing is looked upon too leniently by the 'police'. In my town drug dealers are punished by the IRA while the police are often seen chatting to them.

[My] drinking was due to problems [I had] with my mother, who is manic depressive, and my parents were split[t]ing up during this time. I don't smoke because it is disgusting as my parents both do and I would never touch the drugs due to the fact that I lived in Scotland. I am more interested in education than sex.

Drugs - I think in today's society there are far too many teenagers, boys & girls taking drugs, which is destroying their bodies. Sexual matters - I think over the last number of years teenage pregnancy has gone up by a very high percentage.

Drugs - We should try and keep away from young children; [it] damages them; bad in behaviour, attitude, and violence. They lose control.

Drugs are a plaque on our nation and the drug-lords who live the high life abroad on the funds of their victims' habits must be defeated at all costs.

Drugs are bad, drinking is bad, smoking is bad.

Drugs are bad.

Drugs are dangerous. Smoking is harmful. Safe sex is healthy. Controlled drinking is fun.

Drugs are not a problem in my area but I would still like to see work continuing on deterring young people & older people on not using drugs.

Drugs do serious harm. I advice people - Do not take drugs! Drugs can seriously damage your health.

Drugs should be legalised and put under state control to ensure they are as safe as possible. Also people's bodies use their own to treat as they wish. Young people should be given more hope and things to do in order to combat drug and alcohol use.

Drugs will be unstoppable soon, if not already. In other words, drugs are becoming more important and easily available to younger people.

Each are far too easy to have. There need to be stricter guidelines on each.

Every young person will be tempted. I've tried smoking once, never tried drugs, drinking a few times within reason - never binged. It is more important to have the right mix of friends who respect you if you drink, smoke, have sex or don't. I have that and it ensures I never feel peer pressure. Two of my close friends had sex at a very young age and regret. They both just did it to say they had. I still respected them because it was their choice, but a lot of people lost respect for them and it started a lot of vicious rumours.

Everyone should have equal opportunities to learn about these matter, e.g. every school should have to do a fixed course put in place by the government.

For drinking, I would like the age to go up to 21, like in America. I feel a lot of off-licenses sell alcohol to underage people. They should ask for ID, but I feel off-licenses sell it just to get the money. That is how I feel the way it is; and as for smoking, 21.

Friends were a big influence on me about smoking as they constantly pointed out how worthless it was. At this age sex and sexual matters are always on a male's mind and I can sometimes feel pressured to do what others are doing.

Gay people should get the fuck out of N[orthern] Ireland for starts. Legalise drinking from the age of 16. Joe bags (condoms) should be made + given free to school children.

Generally I found answering the last few questions about who influenced my views on these things quite difficult as I feel that as I make my own decisions the biggest influence I have in these thing is myself as I have generally shaped my own views more than I've been influenced by other people's!

I am very fortunate to have grown up in an area where drugs are quite scarce. I have never ever been offered drugs and don't expect to, yet I am relying on myself that I will be able to handle that situation, if the time comes. I work in a shop and I have seen first hand how easily someone under 16 can get their hands on cigarettes. For some shopkeepers it is extremely difficult and puts them under social scrutiny to refuse their 'under 16' friends cigarettes. I don't think alcohol in Northern Ireland is a major problem, yet I am aware of the many minors who break this law. I am in some disagreement with the age limit. At this stage of my life sexual matters is not something I have had to deal with but I am worried that it will grow into a concern in the not so distant future.

I believe being allowed to smoke at 16 is quite alright, but entirely up to the person to choose too. I think drinking is acceptable but only to a certain extent. I think sexual matters are entirely up to the person but should be fully aware of contraception and persuaded not to do it until in a comfortable relationship.

I believe smoking is a waste of money and you are only killing yourself. Drinking is ok if you only drink a small amount and only on a special occasion like Christmas, a birthday etc.

I believe that taking drugs (eg. blow) is not a serious crime as people make it out to be, as it doesn't affect anyone except the taker. Why should people be charged for drugs when all they are doing is having a laugh?

I believe that the main reasons why people, aged 15 to 18, decide to drink illegally is because they are bored. I live in [name of town] and there is absolutely nowhere for people aged 15-18 to go, to have fun or a night out. Therefore people this age must revert to buying fake ID's etc. in order to get out to a night club that will contain people closer to their own age. There are junior discos but wake up! There is a huge difference between an adolescent aged 17 & a child aged 12. The 15-18 age group need to be focussed on.

I believe that young people today go and drink at clubs because there is nothing else for them to do at their age, until 18. There should be more events for people under 18. I think this would stop underage drinking and drug taking and many people would not need to go to clubs.

I believe there is a certain age to be getting into sexual matters! But if you are more than sure, you got to do it. Make sure you use something!!!

I believe we are all a map of our parents - so concerning these views a stable family background is the key. If you are comfortable enough with each other for your parents to educate you in these matters, and for you in return to be able to express any concerns or opinions - then I think there would be less problems with these issues. If parents make them seem so forbidden it make[s] them interesting. If it's more of an open topic - then it's not anything you want to [do] or are interested in experiencing because there is not curiosity about it!

I do not believe there is enough information available in Catholic schools about sex.

I do not need anything to help me when I am out or socialising. Very rarely will I feel that I am missing out on something with regards to the above. Although, I can at times see the attraction that drinking holds for people. Me however, I can do without and so I do without.

I do smoke tobacco but I have not and will never do any of the rest, including drinks, drugs and sexual activities. Drugs are dangerous and could kill, especially illegal drugs. People who take drugs are stupid - they are addictive and abusive. They should get out before it's too late. It's the same for drinks. I know a lot of people who are addicted to drink and are now dying. I advise young people to get out now before it's too late.

I don't agree with smoking & drugs and I have the odd drink with my friends, but nothing that will ever cause problems. I have been with my boyfriend for an year and a half, and I think sexual matters are fine if you're in a sexual relationship.

I don't feel there is enough information given on the consequences of taking/doing these things available for teenagers. There is too much shown on T.V. that encourages young people into sexual activities i.e. music videos, soap episodes, films, etc.

I don't see smoking as something I would ever like to do. Drink is ok if it's taken sensibly. Drugs are stupid & can kill at any time. Sexual matters happen sooner or later.

I don't think that anyone around my age should smoke. They know the risks and should know better.

I don't think there is anything wrong with drinking and sexual matters. I think smoking and drugs are disgusting habits!

I don't want to sound like a goody goody, but I feel I am the only one in my circle of friends not drinking. All my close friends do it and sometimes they are funny, but there are times I get worried you can no longer treat anyone and I am afraid of them getting hurt. I have too many bad past experiences with drinking to even be interested in doing so, but I am just concerned for my peers as there is a lot of under age drinking and it seems to be hitting younger and younger age groups. The outcome could and will be dangerous. A lot of my friends are also having sex and have been for a couple of years. This is something I totally disagree with but they still persist in doing it. I do not believe in sex before marriage and feel this is being abused.

I don't agree with drugs like cannabis, etc. but I think that drinking is fine, if done in moderation. As for smoking, I don't like it but if anyone else wants to [drink], I'm not going to judge them. In relation to sex, I haven't done anything worth writing about, but I am quite open to the idea if I am in a proper relationship. I don't think that it has to take place only in marriage, so long as the couple is committed to each other.

I don't like smoking. I know it's bad for you but I can't stop but I wish I could.

I don't think excessive amounts of any are healthy. Sex is fun & more awareness should be made.

I don't think it's right for people to go around sleeping with different people for the fun of it. It's right if you had a relationship for a long time and you trust each other and both want to do it because you're in love.

I don't think many young people [...] drink alcohol is because of peer pressure. I think it's because they want to, well maybe younger teenagers drink to show off. Drugs do not interest me in the slightest. Solvent abuse is just stupid because [it just] gets [you] a kick out [of] feeling a little funny inside for like 5 seconds, [but] it can kill you instantly.

I don't think they are as bad as they're made out to be. Smoking should be banned in all public places. Drugs should be avoided.

I don't touch drugs or alcohol any more.

I feel my school should have been more informative on sex - less biological and more social.

I feel that far too many young people binge drink and smoke. I think it is mostly due to peer pressure.

I feel that peer pressure is one of the main reasons many young people get into smoking and drinking. Many see drugs as an easy way out of an awful situation. I presume, many young people uneducated about sexual intercourse, may see it as something everyone is involved in. The media often portrays this.

I feel that schools don't teach enough about sex. The reason for this is that they only teach the basic stuff and not any of the side effects of having sex.

I feel that they all should be strictly forbidden. This will cause great stress to many people all over the world; although in saying this we will live in a much more unpolluted environment and young/old people will become richer and much more healthier. (It may also increase life expectancy.)

I feel that they are mostly a waste of time, but from experience, I feel they may get addictive and and turn to habits!

I feel that young people can access drugs & alcohol very easily not only in N.I. but all over the world. Better steps should be taken to reduce the number of drugs accessible to young people.

I feel that your friends influence a person a lot in what you do, may be sex, drinking, drugs and smoking. So I feel that when schools get people in to talk about any of these issues, they should get someone who is young to talk about it because people feel more comfortable around younger people.

I feel very strongly against the use of drugs & smoking. I also think sexual matters are private and should be treated with respect.

I find that smoking is a bad habit not only does it affects the smokers health but also affects the health of others. I believe that sexual intercourse should be kept for marriage.

I found that my school and family were the best influences for me.

I hate cigarettes + the smoke they create. I would never ever take up smoking. I would like to drink, however my parents would strongly disagree.

I hate drinking, smoking and using drugs. But I can't stop doing them.

I hate smoking and people smoking around me.

I have learnt that many people participate in these matters - at the time, it seems like the thing to do -but eventually it crashes in around them.

I have never engaged myself in these matters as I have strong beliefs against all of them. I believe we should respect our bodies and ourselves and stand up for what is right and not give into peer pressure. I strongly believe that sex should be kept for marriage.

I have smoked a few times, but I stopped when I realized the effects of it on me. I don't drink that often, I am only allowed to drink on special ocassions. I know what drugs can do to people, I've seen what's happened to people when they have done drugs, that's why I've never touched them. I'm glad we waited until this age, because I am more mature, I'm becoming an adult and I took the decision to have sex with my boyfriend. We don't rush into things. He's very understanding.

I know that smoking is bad as it killed one of my family members but as I started at such a young age it seems more harder to quit though I want to. Drinking for me is an escape from my problems [but they are] still there the next day. Drugs and sexual matters aren't a part of my life now. May be a few years ago when I was stupid. Now I like to think of myself as more matured even though I still drink, but not to get rid of my problems but more to have fun and enjoy myself.

I mostly dislike these issues. I despise smoking, drugs and I think having sexual intercourse should be something done when you find the right person. Alcohol is acceptable for me within moderation.

I myself like drinking and smoking and sometimes taking dope. There is nothing wrong with it. I don't drink much, only on weekends. I would take dope for the crack. There is nothing wrong with dope.

I no longer drink alcohol. I stopped last September.

I personally feel that too many people are having underage sex and they don't actually understand the symbolic meaning of it. And if a teenager gets pregnant they often don't know how to come to terms with the consequences of their actions.

I really dislike the fact that teenagers my age and indeed younger, feel the need to use and abuse these things just to please others. People just should not feel the need to do these things just to impress others and you should never pressure someone else - it's just stupid. I think that if people were taught about these issues at an early age there would be less curiosity to try out these things, as they would just be another thing in life. Not talking about these issues is where we go wrong, teachers and parents are too embar[r]assed to discuss these matters, especially sex and therefore children/teenagers don't learn about it until it's too late/and/or they hear the wrong things.

I really don't understand how anyone who has seen the adverts on TV or seen any thing discouraging smoking could pick up a cigarette. I am totally against smoking and can't wait until the smoking ban comes to the north.

I really don't like alcohol because not so long ago my uncle died of drinking too much, he was an alcoholic. He started drinking when he was 16 and died when 35 years old.

I regret smoking and drinking and don't do either anymore. I don't like the feeling of not being fully in control of my mind when I was drunk and inabitious [?]! Also I am a Christian now, so that is also why I don't do either anymore.

I started to smoke, but I thought I was a big girl, but now I would like to stop because it is bad for me at a young age. Sex, however, is good for me, it keeps me fit and thin. Drinking also is good because I make an [?] out of myself. Ye Ha!

I strongly disagree with smoking. It's too expensive and ruins your health. I don't like my mum + dad smoking as it is knocking years off their life. I also hate drug taking. I think alcohol is ok - take in moderation. Sex should be with someone special you love, don't regret it afterwards and always use protection.

I strongly disagree with the abuse of illegal drugs, but I can empathise with those who are addicted.

I think all the warning about smoking, drinking, drugs & sexual matters will make no difference to teenagers. If anything it will encourage them to rebel. Also I don't think the problems with with thses isues are a[s] big problems as the government and health groups make it.

I think drinking is acceptable provided you can control yourself and know when to stop and you are in a safe environment with people you like.

I think drug, drink and smoking are something for young people to do to pass the time (even though it kills them). And I believe you should not have sex before marriage.

I think everybody tries tobacco or alcohol at some time in their life, so I think if you try it & don't like it, then don't do it. If you like it, then make a decision - Yes/No. I think illegal drugs, especially class A drugs, are definitely wrong.

I think it is clear that most 16 year olds regularly consume alcohol and quite a few have sexual intercourse, smoke and take drugs. I therefore think it is stupid to ask if they do and they should be asked how often and how much they do it instead. This is to see how much damage 16 year olds are doing to themselves.

I think it is widely underestimated how many young people today are smoking, drinking, taking drugs and having sexual intercourse. Therefore I think the problems and consequences involved with these actions should be properly publicised.

I think it's important for children to know that no matter how the wind howls the mountain shall never bow to it. I think children should be taught there are other more fulfilling ways to enjoy life than drugs.

I think it's up to them what they do, especially as we're given plenty of information about these matters so they know what they're doing. I think sex ed[ucation] should begin at a younger age because I'd say sexual activity is beginning younger.

I think many of today's teenagers may feel under pressure to do these things to fit in with people around them. However I don't think people need to drink alcohol and take drugs to have a good time. Using these may lead to addictions and lead to young people having sexual intercourse which they may live to regret.

I think many young people are under a lot of peer pressure to start smoking, drinking or having sex. However I believe the schools generally take a very positive and open attitude when dealing with these important issues. Although I do smoke the occasional cigar, I believe young people today should be discouraged from smoking cigarettes, as it is the main cause of lung cancer which kills 10,000s of people every year in the UK - many people who are forced to passive[ly] smoke also suffer unnecessarily.

I think people make out that peer pressure is the reason for many people to do the above activities underage, however I feel that it is not that big a reason for their participation and it's not hard to just say no.

I think people should be able to make responsible decisions and if they don't, they should learn by their mistakes. I don't think people nowadays respect others individual decisions.

I think people should become more educated and aware about STD's [sexually transmitted diseases], as they are becoming more of a problem. People should also be more aware of the long term effects of smoking, drinking and drug usage.

I think people should wait until they are the legal age and then make up their own mind after that.

I think people who smoke are just wasting their money. It's just like they're putting their money on fire. It's the same with drink and drugs as well.

I think school influenced me the most in all of these areas. If it wasn't for school I probably would have tried a lot of illegal drugs.

I think schools should teach more about the above & in a more practical way. For example, testimonies from people who have changed their ways, or by interviewing a young girl who had unprotected sex & got pregnant, & she could tell how it changed her life.

I think smoking and drinking are something everyone tries and people and the Government spend too much time on teenage abuse of these substances. In third year we had five speakers on drugs. I believe that there is too much fuss about cannabis. It should clearly be a grade C [drug] or not closed at all. Teenagers do have many sexual encounters, but not everyone does it a lot! Schools need to educate more on STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] !

I think smoking and drinking should be banned, it is not like we need these 2 things to survive. All smoking and drinking does is destroy li[v]es and hal[ve]s our time living. If people quit smoking then I think there would be less chance of lung cancer and a l - I think smoking and drugs are too common. I find them pointless and a waste of money. Drinking I think is too much abused: people often drink simply for the such of it and not just socially, as I believe it should be used. I think people, particularly young people, are very aware of the effect of drugs and smoking and are by no means naive, not smoke and take drugs to fit in with the particular culture they are trying to become part of. I think sexual intercourse before marriage, contrary to my religion, is alright, providing it is intended to show how serious someone feels in a relationship, but should not be indulged in.

I think smoking is absolutely disgusting. I think that it is the most revolting habit and I don't understand why anyone, in this day and age, would want to start smoking.

I think smoking is disgusting and it should be banned in all public places. It is not only damaging the smoker, 80% of the dangerous fumes are released for others to breathe in, meaning those who choose not to smoke.

I think smoking is disgusting and should be banned from all public places because it's not fair that I should have to breathe in other people's cigarrette smoke just because they want to smoke. If they want to kill themselves, that's fine; just don't kill me in the process!!!

I think smoking is more dangerous than drinking, so the legal age for smoking should be 18 and the legal age for drinking should be 16. This means there would be less young ones smoking because they wouldn't get cigarettes.

I think smoking should be banned in all public places, as passive smoking is worse than normal smoking. I think most young people smoke, drink, do drugs and have sex because they think it makes them look cool and tough, but really in the long run it will shorten their life span / social life.

I think sometimes the information given in schools is really good but the way it is given / taught is not.

I think that people have a tendency to consume such things in excess; they are not good at exercising self control and are not fully aware of the risks involved with smoking, drinking, drugs and sex. Such topics are only beginning to be discussed, they should be fully explained and talked of more.

I think that schools should concentrate a lot more than they do on these topics. I find that young people are put under a lot of pressure from their peers to smoke, drink, take drugs or have sex and I don't think that they can talk to many people about it like family or teachers, as they are scared of what they will think.

I think that schools should do more to teach young people about smoking, drinking, drugs and sexual matters. I don't think they take a big enough responsibility in regard to these issues.

I think that shops should be more strict on selling alcohol to underage drinkers. I also believe that drink is not needed for young people to enjoy themselves.

I think that smoking is an absolutely disgusting habit. I tried it when I was young - Never Again! I've seen the effects of drinking and how it affects people who are not drinking and that has put me off it! I would never do drugs and I think that sex should be shared with someone whom you love and trust and who is special to you.

I think that smoking, drugs, drinking, and sexual matters actually have a lot to do with how your outlook in life is like. As well as how you were brought up by parents. Home life can have a lot to do with some of the decisions you make.

I think that the core for life organisation shall be given more government funding because I think that what it has to say is much more important than sexual education.

I think that young people feel pressured by their friends to do these things. Also, the more parents try to discourage these things, the more the children will want to do them.

I think the number of young people who regularly use these drugs etc. take it to be a social and overall normal thing to do, once you go to secondary school!

I think the problem of drugs is increasing and many young teenagers are dying from using them. Alcohol should be taken sensibly.

I think there are too many posters saying that drugs, smoking, sexual matters and drinking are harmful, but those [of] my age pay no attention to posters. There should be more adverts on television and the radio - where teenagers become aware of what is going on.

I think there is no point in doing drugs. It's stupid, all it does is harm your body. I think the same about smoking too.

I think there should be better education in schools about these matters. I have never been taught about sex, STD's or contraception and maybe if I was then it would have helped me to make a better informed decision in the future and prevent teen pregnancy. A lot of people in my school are avid drinkers (a lot of people regularly binge drink) + smoke & so are very unhealthy

I think there should be more awareness on sexual matters. After all, Britain has the highest amount of aids and sexually transmitted infections in Europe. Lack of awareness could possibly be causing this. Also, I was shocked when I read in a magazine that a high percentage of teenagers are too scared to ask at a chemist shop for condoms & other forms of contraception.

I think whatever you do in life is up to yourself, because I am my own individual person and no-one could tell me what to do or take if I wanted to do something, I would do it but also take the consequences into consideration.

I think you should do what you feel comfortable with, not what people tell you to do.

I think young adults growing up want to have independence like their parents, teachers etc. They see adults drinking, smoking and I think they tend to follow in their footsteps. My point is, adults influence us by their habits of smoking and drinking, then preach to us that it's wrong. But why are they doing it, if it's wrong and bad for you? Aren't they the ones who should be learning of the dangers?

I totally disagree with smoking and binge drinking, I feel that drinking alcohol is ok in safe amounts. Regarding sexual matters, I feel that it is down to the individual.

I was informed a lot about smoking, drinking, etc. and smoking and drugs I would never do but the other two are part of life, although I do not get out to drink when I go out unlike most people my age. I consume in moderation.

I was never forced to do anything. It was always my choice, never peer - pressure, contrary to popular belief, actually a good few friends I have shouted at me for trying.

I wish there wasn't such a big drinking obsession with everybody that you have to drink if you go out or else you're a bore. It's not like this in other countries.

I would just like to say that you probably shouldn't experiment with the above, morally. But a lot of us will, which can be alright if you learn to get over it.

I would not smoke regularly. I know that many of my friends feel the same, due to the images and lessons given to us in our school.

If it was shown more often on TV young ones would listen more. "Adverts"

In Irish society, we tend not to talk about these matters in the home which I believe is a disgrace. Parents need to understand that teenagers have genuine queries about certain matters which need to be answered calmly and as fully as possible.

In my area there are very few facilities for young people so they have nothing better to do than get involved in these things.

In school these issues are not fully addressed. They are taught as a module and many pupils feel the class is only there to fill up the timetable. I do not think they realise how serious the issues are.

In school we do not get enough information about STD's and AIDS.

In the area where I live everyone of my age and even younger, in some cases, do all of these things and they are all looked upon as normal things to do.

It depends on your peer group and how easily misled you are and how happy you are at home. One of these isn't enough, but if they all work together you will fall prey to smoking, drinking etc. I find amongst my friends that all 4 of these actions tend to go hand in hand. I also find that by constantly nagging them has no effect.

It doesn't change my opinion on anyone if they decide to take part in any of the above. If they feel comfortable with it then it is their own decision.

It is likely that most people will lie in this survey. Smoking, drinking and drugs are very common. Almost everyone I know drinks but not excessively. They have learnt to be responsible with alcohol.

It is not concentrated enough on in school. Students should be made more aware of consequences.

It is pointless drinking alcohol because you can have a good time without drinking and also it damages your body. And drugs are just stupid.

It is very important for people my age, what everyone else is doing.

It wasn't just my friends influences that has made me do all of the above. My friends do it, but it was my choice to do the things mentioned. My friends did not and do not force me to do anything I don't want to do.

It's alright to have a bit of fun sometimes, but in the long run it won't do much for your health. However, we're young and should be allowed to have some fun.

It's people's own choice what they want to regardless of who doesn't approve of it, whether it's your parents, church beliefs or friends.

It's something that will always be there; be it something to do if you are bored, something to do if you want to be cool; or something that you have been forced into. Personally, I hate smoking! I hate the smell of it and to see it at all public places, makes me sick! I think the age limit should be raised to 19, at least, as there are too many young people smoking. There's no problem, with drugs for the simple reason, I don't see anyone taking them, so I don't know the problems caused. Drinking can be a huge problem! Be it on a Friday or Saturday night, when in town, you feel so uneasy in a 'drunks' presence - something more should be done about that. Sex is something people always giggle about, but it's not a bad thing. All you need is a condom or a pill and no problems should arise (if used correctly). I do feel that it should only really be done after the age of 16 though.

It's you yourself that has to make your own choice. We all have our own brain and mouth so use it and do what we want under certain circumtances otherwise don't do anything were forced into.

I've been smoking for years and was influenced my peers but now I do it for myself. I would occasionally drink alcohol and take drugs once. In sexual intercourse, [it ] happens with my boyfriend and only him.

Matters such as these, in my opinion, are glorified by celebs and the media too much, which influences teenagers and sometimes adds pressure.

More and more young people around 12 and 13 are smoking and drinking and taking drugs and it has to be stopped because they are just wasting their lives.

More awareness of the risks involved in having sex.

More people in the community are getting involved with one or all of these young people today. They often feel that if they keep with the trend of everyone else they will not stand out from the rest, which helps boost their confidence, as then they feel they are accepted. This makes it less likely for such a person to be subject to any form of bullying.

Most of the reasons I am not interested in smoking or taking drugs is because I've seen, heard + learnt what it can do to people. I don't think drinking is bad for me, is because I can say no whenever I want. Unfortunately some can't . Sex to me is for marriage + as long as Ican, I want to keep it that way.

Most teenagers have tried drugs. Some like it and stayed on it, but some dislike it.

My parents both smoke and I hate it.

My school could've taught me more or offered more support on these topics.

No matter what discussions or lectures given in school, if someone is going to smoke, drink or do drugs etc., then they are going to do it. They may take discussions or whatever one presented, but schools tend to be too boring and not persuasive enough to make someone not do something they are considering.

Well, there is a lot of pressure on young people to take part in these activities.

Everything's ok!

Not enough education/discussion in schools (more so sexual matters).

Not only have my friends + family played a huge role in my not taking part in these activities, but I have also seen what especially alcohol can do to people . A family friend was a severe alcoholic who wanted to give up but could not. As a result, she tried to take her own life with an overdose. She now has brain damage and is dependent on others. This is a major lesson in my life so I don't want to drink at 16. I have also had a good relationship with my parents + talk openly, so I don't feel to do any of the above.

I don't believe in sex before marriage, and I think smoking and drugs are really sick things to do. I only sometime have the odd drink with friends.

One of my parents works for 'Love For Life' - an organisation aiming to give presentation in all schools in N[orthern] I[reland](mainly secondary schools). They provide a large influence on me as well as my friends and church as they promote self confidence rather than condoms as the government is doing.'Prevention not Protection!'

Only do them when I drink so I can't remember!!!

Our school was very helpful on these matters, they gave good useful information.

Peer pressure is extremely strong. It takes a lot of energy to say 'no', when everyone around you is taking part. At 16 you are considered 'unusual' if you are still a virgin.

People may not have had sexual intercourse but done other sexual things to others or themselves.

Personally for me these don't apply because I am able to make my own decisions and stick to them. However a lot of this is going on in my age group and younger and there definitely needs to be something done; I feel bullying affects these issues greatly also.

Personally uninterested.

Practically all my friends drink and smoke and I really worry about them. I probably would feel pressured to smoke and drink as well, if it weren't for my Christian belief that I should do nothing to harm my body and the school I attend clearly showed me it's very harmful. I also think too many young people are sleeping around and don't respect the sacredness of sex and marriage.

School children need to know the real dangers of these, especially smoking, drinking drugs.

School doesn't show the consequences of smoking, drinking, drugs enough. For example we get no clear images of how our life would be after.

School should give more advice to teenagers about sexual intercourse and the use of protection and the dangers. Teenagers are not fully aware of the complications that arise from having sex or of the details surrounding it.

School should give you more lessons about these matters.

Schools should allow smoke rooms for the sixth and upper sixth pupils as they are old enough to smoke and it means everyone else doesn't have to choke on the smoke.

Schools should have more help for us for sexual matters, e.g. discussions, helplines, counsellors, etc. More punishments for smoking + drug matters in schools. May reduce usage?!

Schools should set a time/class every week to talk/teach about these issues.

Schools should try and put across things a lot more. Especially with sexual matters and consequences.

Sex - consenting & adult means you should do anything you want. Drugs - legalise all of them; reduce illegal drug dealing and associated crimes and the government can tax them to extremes, like petrol & tobacco.

Sex education isn't covered enough in schools at 16.

Sexual intercourse at 16 I feel acceptable as long as the couple ensure that they use all the possible protection as pregnancy is a lot for a 16 year old to deal with.

Should be more sexual education in schools. Teenagers should be repeatedly warned about the health risks involved when taking drugs and smoking.

Smoke if you want but respect others' health. Drink if you want. Take drugs if you want, but stay out of normal society.

Smoking - A lot of my friends smoke but I consider it pointless and unhealthy. Drinking - Alcohol abuse is blown out of proportion - most teens know how to handle it. Drugs - Too many teens say 'I 'll try it just once' but they end up addicted + drugs are easier to get your hands on than before.

Smoking - die-smell-yellow teeth. Drinking - ok in moderation. Drugs - dangerous, stupid!! Die. Sexual matters - should be treated with respect.

Smoking - is very common in school. Most of my friends smoke, but I do not as I feel it may cause cancers and other health problems. Drinking - is also common but it is recreational. Drugs - Cannabis is the only drug I have ever tried and been offered. Sex - I have never had sex but I think its important for contraception + sex-health info to be more openly available.

Smoking - It's an individual decision, but I now don't see the point. Drinking - too widely encouraged amongst young people, in larger amounts - could be introduced earlier, in smaller amount, so not abused. Drugs - don't see the need. Too easy to get hold of in today's world. Sex - too widely publicised and too many young people feel pressurised into doing it too early in life.

Smoking & drinking are stupid. Drugs are totally addictive and wrong. Sex outside of marriage is wrong.

Smoking + drugs are silly. Alcohol is cool but only in small amounts. Sex is cool if you are truly in love with the other person.

Smoking + taking drugs are very wrong+ seriously damage your health. They should be harder to get or more expensive, so that they are harder to purchase + maybe save a few lives.

Smoking is disgusting, drinking is fine in moderation, drugs nothing but weed (everything else is not my cup of tea).

Smoking = yes it is harmful but it is your choice. I realise some may not like me doing it so I do it on my own. It's important to respect those around you. Drinking = it can be dangerous with your health but also with the situation you could get into e.g. rape., fights etc. Need to be able to control it. Drugs=Ii've tried dope but that's my limit with pills and stuff you don't know what you're taking. Sexual matters = nothing to brag about. As long as you are safe and control your feelings you'll be fine.

Smoking and drinking are very bad for you and can ruin your life!!! - Smoking and drinking everyone does it. It is good [... ?] and sexual matter, why wait, just do it, now I think.

Smoking has become a socially acceptable drug, a bit like alcohol. Young people seem to think that they are not as harmful as illegal drugs & therefore you will find that there will be more young people who have tried tobacco or alcohol. I don't believe that the government can do a lot to help any more because the damage has already been done. The only thing that has put me off smoking is that my friend's dad died because of it. However many times I was tempted.

Smoking I don't agree with - it's disgusting but I don't care if other people smoke. It's their choice and doesn't bother me. I don't agree with drugs at all and people who take them are silly and putting their body at risk. - Smoking- I think smoking is much less common among young people as it once was. Everyone is a lot more aware of how addictive and seriously damaging to health it is. Drinking - In the town where I live about 95% of people my age drink alcohol. Drugs- Quite a lot of people my age smoke dope regularly. I know about 30 people who take extascy every weekend. Sexual matters - In my area about 70% of people my age have had sex.

Smoking is a bad filthy habit which is a waste of your life + your money.

Smoking is a choice, not an addiction.

Smoking is just a result of peer pressure. Most teenagers think that you need alcohol to have a good time, when it is actually not true. It may help someone to have a wild time ,but you don't need it for an all-round good-time. Only stupid people (teenagers) do drugs. Sex is so over-rated most people I know, regret the experience of losing their virginity.

Smoking is only used by young people to fit in. Most young people aren't actually addicted at this stage in their life but think they're 'cool' doing it. Drinking in my view, young people try it, like it, but do it through boredom as there is not much in the state for 16 year olds to do.

Smoking is stinking . I'll never smoke. Drink is bad for you, but I drink sometimes to get in a good mood when I go out. Drugs are bad and addictive. Sexual matters - It's all good as long as you use protection. - Smoking should be banned in public buildings.

Smoking should be banned indoors. Down south [they] have the right idea, it should only be allowed outside. Everyone should not have to suffer.

Smoking should be illegal because it causes millions of deaths every year. Higher penalties should be imposed on drug abuses & drug dealers. Sex should be left until marriage.

Smoking should be made illegal altogether - it causes too many deaths by cancer and should not be sold. Because drugs are illegal, but easy to access,it makes people want them more. And for sexual matters you can't put an age - when it's legal to have sex it should be (whenever the persons are ready or feel ready).

Smoking shouldn't be allowed until you are over 18 and drinking to sexual matters shouldn't be allowed until you are married.

Smoking, drinking and drugs are a complete waste of money and your life. It is also hazardous to those around you. Sex should be reserved for marriage.

Smoking, drinking and using drugs are all damaging to health.

Some of these subjects are not very well advertised, so more teenagers don't fully understand the consequences that these things could have on them. For example, take the subject on sexual matters - on the T.V. I never see anything advertised about them. If you thought about it the majorty of teenagers watch T.V., at least once a day, but yet, there are no adverts on it about sexual matters. I think if there were at least a couple of adverts that would help a bit, I also found that I don't think schools give enough information, for any at all. I feel that's probably why there are so many teenagers that have either got sexually transmited diseases or have become pregnant, because they were not told about all the consequences. Another subject that I don't think, is advertised enough, is drinking. There is never a lot said about drinking. There are some adverts on drinking and driving but there is now more and more underage, teenage drinking . If you thought about it, drinking and driving doesn't apply to 16 year olds, does it? So they won't think of what happens when a drunk driver beats a child, a mother because they are not driving. There should be more adverts aimed at teenagers drinking and the consequences that it could have on them. For example, you should show how it could damage their health and how the damage can be irreversible in some cases. If all of these subjects were advertised more and explained more in school, then I think less teenagers would be ruining their lives over stupid things like these.

Teenagers are put under pressure by their peers to do drugs, drink and have sex. They are afraid that if they don't do these things they will have no friend and be bullied.

Teenagers should be more aware of the consequences of the above issues.

[...] Drugs are a waste of money + damage your health.

[...] Schools should teach more about drugs, drinking and smoking but not sexual matters, as this is not a matter that should be told to children by school but by family.

The best way to learn about these things is through life experience, trying the things and learning from your mistakes, not from books or other people.

The education given about sexual matters should begin at an earlier age, like it is in the rest of the United Kingdom. As a result of not being told the importance etc. of practising safe sex, a lot more teenagers end up in bad or even dangerous situations and this is probably why the pregnancy (teenage) rate in Northern Ireland is significantly higher, compared with other parts of the country.

The more a person is told not to do something, the more they do it. There is not enough sexual education. Sexual education should be introduced much earlier! For most it comes too late. Drinking at 16 is acceptable to me as long as one is responsible.

The no. of 16 year olds doing these things is high among middle class societies as well as working class. Sex and drugs need more awareness among teenagers.

The reason there is such a major problem with these issues is because the education we receive isn't good enough and what poor information we do receive comes too late for those it could have made a difference to.

The reason why I have tried everything above at least once is because of school.

The schools seem to do a good job in telling you the dangers of drugs but they never seem to tell you the disadvantages and advantages of sexual intercourse.

The thing that I think is improtant is that if young people are going to drink, smoke, take drugs or have sex to do it because they want to and not to be afraid to say no like all things in life you must stand up for yourself.

There is never enough specific guidance for those who actually need it.

There is not a lot of people in the area I live to talk to about sexual matters and drugs. People in my area who are teenagers drink and smoke due to the fact there is nothing else to do or no where else to go without getting hassle from people you don't see eye to eye with.

There is too much emphasis on specific subjects being taught than being taught to use their common sense.

There should be even more education about it at school.

There should probably be more sex education. Smoking should be banned. Tight restrictions on drinking i.e. limit alcohol intake but lower age limit to 16. Police need to crack down on drugs they are too avaliable.

These are major health issues for everyone. Smoking causes cancer to smokers and people near them. It stinks and it is a waste of money. Drunk people start fights or end up hurting some innocent person. People on drugs mug other people so they can get their drugs. People who depend on drugs for the buzz aren't in control and so hurt others. People like this are better off dead.

These vices are the reason that society has gone to the dogs. Smoking is extremely annoying, drinking (when done in moderation is fine) is rarely done in moderation, drug dealers should be shot, and people should be not so stupid as to take drugs. Sexual matters are too personal to people, but too easily entered into.

To me I'm just at it to have a laugh because I'm only 16 and the people I run out with are 18+. So, I'm just going out, partying and having fun bacause I'm still young and you live only once.

Too many underage people are being sold cigerattes. Lots of 16 years olds and younger people are easily served in night clubs, bars and offlicences.

Too many young people my age are active in all these areas. Many of them are or soon will be legally allowed to have sex, that's fine. I think all people should want at least, until they are legally allowed to drink, smoke, etc. There is a reason why there is a legal age for these things. As for drugs - they should all be banned. I dont care if people think cannabis should be made legal. It will promote the use + lead to trouble. Drugs should be only allowed for medical reasons - not for personal pleasure.

Traditional values have been forgotten, there one more and more young people getting involved in these activities and it is leading to many problems. The best way to prevent yourself from being caught up in addiction is complete abstinence. And sex should only be entered into after marriage, which provides a good home for the children. Bringing up children with only a mother is not desirable & they grow up not appreciating the importance of the family home.

Underage drinking in street corners should be prevented by police patrol.

Underage smoking, drinking and sex are very common in our area. This is leading to environmental problems. Broken glass is causing a problem in our community. It is not safe for children on our beaches or in our parks.

Waste of money. Bad habbits to get in to!

We all have to learn by our mistakes, but try to learn from our parents past mistakes, says my mum. - We should be given information, but let us make our own decisions.

We should have more chances in school to be educated on these matters.

Well, end of the day it is not upto anyone what someone else does. It is upto them if they want to do these things.

When I've been working loads of days in a row 'cause it makes me fall behind. Because it makes me tired.

[...] I hate smoking, drinking and drugs, especially underage and I strongly believe that it is a disgrace that the amount of underage drugs and alcohol abuse is taking place in our country. In this matter I think that our government has let us all down and is completely incompetent in dealing with this growing problem.

[...] I would like to stop smoking because I care about my health, but I can't because most my mates smoke, I have stopped smoking drugs, but I still drink at weekends.

[...] People my age (me) don't get enough advice about sex before marriage. People are therefore confused & feel like they're defying their religion but want to be an experienced person. Drinking isn't talked about much for those of my age. - You don't need them, you can have fun without them.

You should never take drugs, because they ruin your life.

You should wait for the rite time for sex and as for drinking, smoking and drugs don't do any of it.

Young people in Northern Ireland turn to smoking, drinking, drugs, and sexual matters because there is very little for us to do. Most themes are aimed for children or over 18. Young people are too old to play with toys and too young to go to night clubs, etc.

Young people today are becoming way more casual about sex and begin having sex much younger than ever before, for example, I know a 13-year-old with an active sex life which led to a baby at 13! Smoking should be banned in public places as it is disgusting.

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