A new study suggests that teens with good results at school are less likely to smoke cigarettes, but they are more likely to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol compared to other teens with lower results. The general opinion might be that smarter students have a higher tendency to experiment, but the researchers suggest that these patterns might continue into adulthood, too.
James Williams and Gareth Hagger-Johnson, co-authors of the study and researchers at University College London, stated that the purpose of their research was to prove wrong the hypothesis that these teens gave up these habits when they grew up.
At the end of 2014, the researchers noticed a decrease in the percentage of teens who admitted drinking and smoking. Around 4 percent of teens admitted smoking cigarettes on a regular basis, 6 percent admitted that they drank alcohol weekly, and 9 percent tried cannabis at least once.
The reason why certain teens chose to consume drugs was quite unclear, so the researchers decided to survey 6,000 teenagers and register their use of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis. They also looked at their results at school to rank them from an academic point of view.
The results showed that, during the early teen years, those with high scores at school were less likely to smoke tobacco but more likely to drink alcohol than those with lower scores. Also, they were a little bit more likely to have tried marijuana at least once in their life.
The results regarding the late teen years showed that the good students are twice as likely to consume alcohol on a regular basis and almost twice as likely to smoke cannabis regularly and 50 percent more likely to smoke it occasionally.
One explanation would be the general openness of smarter students to new experiences and the wish to become accepted by their older peers, who can also facilitate their access to alcohol and pot. Also, the tendency to consume alcohol might come as an influence from their parents.
Since the results show an increase of substance use from early to late teen years, the students are highly unlikely to quit when they grow up. This might have repercussions not only on their health, but also on their academic performance. There is a big difference between experimenting and becoming addicted.
Image Source: Pixabay