Tobacco – quickly addictive
Tobacco is like alcohol, in that it increases your body’s production of dopamine, which makes you feel happy and good. But nicotine is even more addictive than alcohol. It was previously thought that to get addicted to nicotine, you had to use tobacco every day, but research has shown that teenagers can become addicted to nicotine even if they only smoke or use moist snuff at weekends. Nicotine can, amongst other things increase your heart rate and your blood pressure, and damages your overall fitness. Memory and learning abilities are also negatively affected.
Smoking and snus usage today
9 per cent of boys and 13 per cent of girls in the ninth grade – and 19 per cent and 26 per cent of boys and girls year 2 upper secondary school students, respectively – say that they smoke. More than 6 out of every 10 smokers want to quit, but the majority of them said that they would do so “at some point in the future”. It’s hard for teenagers to understand that quitting will get harder and harder for every year that passes and that it may eventually become one of the hardest things they could do. The percentage using moist snuff (snus) has remained relatively unchanged in recent years. In 2018, 10 per cent of boys and 3 per cent of girls in the ninth grade said that they used moist snuff. The corresponding figures amongst upper secondary school students is 21 per cent of boys and 6 per cent of girls.
Parents and tobacco
If you’re an adult who smokes or uses snus, you can, of course, choose to continue to do so. But you should still try to convince your teenager that they shouldn’t start using, too. Who knows? Maybe, if you have that discussion, it’ll persuade you to try quitting yourself?
Cannabis – the most common narcotic
Cannabis (marijuana or hash) is by far the most common narcotic in Sweden. In 2018, 8 per cent of boys and 6 per cent of girls in the ninth grade said that they had tried a narcotic. Upper secondary school students are over twice as likely to have used narcotics as ninth graders (17 per cent of boys and 14 per cent of girls). And more than 9 out of every 10 of them had smoked cannabis.
If you've been drinking for ages, you get bored with it and look for buzz elsewhere. That's when you try drugs instead.
Amanda, aged 15, Örebro
All narcotics are illegal
In Sweden, it’s illegal to buy, sell, use, produce or possess narcotics or controlled medicines without a prescription. Some countries have a more liberal attitude towards cannabis for example. But in Sweden it’s illegal – no matter how old or young you may be.
Where do they get the narcotics?
Young people who have used narcotics most commonly get them from friends or from their girlfriend or boyfriend. Just over half of 9th graders and 6 out of every 10 of upper secondary school students mentioned this as their source. The second most common source is dealers or acquaintances. And the more commonly people use narcotics, the more likely they are to buy from dealers or to order online.
How is your body affected?
Cannabis and other types of drugs affect the brain. You may experience problems concentrating, your memory may be poorer and you may find it harder to learn things. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s perhaps worst of all for anyone who is in school. Not only that, but young people’s brains are particularly sensitive, so drugs will cause more damage in young people’s brains than in adults’.
Can you get addicted to cannabis?
Absolutely. Approximately 1 in 10 people who ever use cannabis and 1 in 6 of those who start using cannabis at an early age, become addicted. And 1 in 3 of those who use it daily will develop an addiction.
E-cigarettes and vaping
Electronic cigarettes are a relatively new product and one that has rapidly grown in popularity amongst young people. In 2018, almost one third of all ninth graders and more than 4 in every 10 upper secondary school students said that they had used e-cigarettes. The liquids inhaled when vaping often contain nicotine, as well as additives that are harmful to health. The minimum age limit for both e-cigarettes and ordinary cigarettes is 18.
Many pharmaceutical products are classified as narcotics because they can give you a rush and cause addiction. 6 per cent of 9th graders and 8 per cent of year 2 upper secondary school students have, at some point, used a sleeping tablet/tranquilizer or analgesic that was not prescribed for them. Around 3 per cent of 9th graders and 5 per cent of upper secondary school students have combined alcohol with pharmaceuticals in order to become intoxicated. Doing so is almost twice as common amongst girls as amongst boys. You’ll find suggestions on organisations you can contact for information about other drugs here.