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Binge Drinking Among Women on the Rise, As Teenage Smoking Declines
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13 Aug 2017 01:13 PM EST

-by Chanel Adams, Staff Writer; Image: Female bartender (Image Source: Tim Hermans at nl.wikipedia)

One in eight Americans has become alcoholics due to an increasing rise in alcohol consumption among women, elderly, and minorities.

Experts at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism calls this rise a public health crisis. Unfortunately, it's being outshined by the opioid abuse epidemic and marijuana legalization.

There has been no known factor for the increase in binge drinking. However, it has become more socially acceptable for women to drink over the years. Another factor for the increase in binge drinking is stress. Alcohol abuse among men has also increased, but not to the same extent as the other noted groups.

"These increases constitute a public health crisis that may have been overshadowed by such increases in less prevalent substance use (marijuana, opiates and heroin) during the same period," the study said. "Most important, the findings herein highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and AUD, destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment."

In the survey, respondents were asked about how many drinks they consume per day, how often think consume alcohol during the week, and whether they've been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD). High-risk drinking is consuming five or more drinks per day for women and five or more for men.

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry. That number increased by 49.4 percent in the 11-year period between 2002 and 2013. Women had an 83.7 percent increase in alcohol use during that time frame. However, binge drinking among teenagers has dropped. Another study found in the May 2017 issue of the journal Pediatrics found that "frequently binge drinking" decreased among adolescents during the period of 1991 to 2015. However, the results found that drinking rates are decreasing faster among teenage boys.

Researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reveal that binge drinking declined among college students every year from 2005 to 2014. However, that practice is still prevalent among young adults who aren't in college. Researchers found that binge drinking among non-college young adults increased from 36 percent to 40 percent between 1999 and 2014. This has also made binge drinking a public health concern.

Teenagers are also smoking less. A new study revealed that teenage smoking rates are on the decline. There has been a significant drop in the number of teenagers who smoke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the number of middle and high school students who smoke dropped from 4.7 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016.

The increasing popularity in e-cigarettes could be the reason why. These battery-operated devices look like cigarettes but use a liquid vaporizer which is puffed through the device. Though these devices have a minimal amount of nicotine, studies have shown that e-cigarettes contain carcinogenic substances that could be more harmful than regular cigarettes.

The decline in teen smoking rate is credited by the various policies that dissuade teens from using tobacco. Some of those policies include an increase in tobacco taxes, expansion of anti-smoking regulations, and anti-smoking campaigns.

Intervention is an effective way of helping teens and children stop smoking. People that are also hit with an intervention decrease the rate of binge drinking. This is a method that could help the targeted groups when it comes to decreasing the rate of teenage smoking and binge drinking.

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