More young people are choosing not to drink alcohol due to the so-called ‘Ab Fab’ effect

Recent NHS figures have suggested that more young people are choosing to stay away from the booze in an effort to save money and avoid drunken embarrassment.


by Closer Staff |
Published on

According to NHS statistics, the amount of 11-15 year olds drinking regularly has fallen by 14% since 2011. The amount who said they have never touched alcohol had fallen from 61% to 45% during the last 12 years.

The drop was also felt in older teenagers and young adults. In a similar survey taken in 1998, 71% of 16-26 year olds admitted to having drunk alcohol that week, whereas in 2010 only 48% had.

The economy has been cited as a reason why young people are opting to cut back on the booze or decide to avoid drinking completely, choosing to save their money for a rainy day rather than a trip to the pub.


Harry Ashworth, who is chief executive of the Portman group and campaigns for the drinks industry to have more social responsibility, thinks that the rise in use of social media has impacted young peoples’ attitudes to drinking.

He told the BBC: ‘There has been an exponential growth in social media since 2005 and this has correlated with a steep decline in risking behaviours such as drinking - so it seems that young people may be diverting to other activities.’

So it would seem that the risk of embarrassing drunk pictures appearing on Facebook is a concern that young people are reportedly taking seriously.

Celebrities such as Fearne Cotton, Radio 1 presenter Jameela Jamil, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez have all spoken out about their decision to steer clear from alcohol, perhaps influencing young people to also back off booze.

The other theory behind this trend of abstaining from alcohol is that many young people are being put off the booze after witnessing their own parents embarrassing themselves drunk.

Fearne Cotton has spoken out about her choice to be teetotal.

Spectator writer Fraser Nelson has dubbed this the 'Ab Fab' effect, referencing the long-suffering daughter of Jennifer Saunders’ boozy champagne toting character Eddie in the popular sitcom.

He wrote: ‘Today’s young Brits are, by contrast, the most sober and sensible in living memory, keeping their heads down, their wallets closed and their minds focused on the mountain of debt that awaits them. We are now living in Ab Fab Britain.’

He described how older generations are enjoying themselves with boozy nights out and holidays, whereas the younger generation is more inclined to keep an eye on their money instead of hitting the clubs at the weekend.

Despite what this report indicates, there are still concerns that too many young people are indulging in binge drinking that could impact their long-term health.

According to NHS statistics liver disease in the over 30s is on the increase and more people are being treated for alcohol related illnesses.

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