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Why young people drink alcohol

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Alcohol is a liquid produced by the fermentation of sugars creating drinks such as beer, wine and spirits.

There are many reasons why young people choose to drink alcohol. These reasons include:


Advertising alcohol is still legal in the UK. Drink adverts can be seen on TV, billboards, posters, magazines, online. They can make it appear as a 'cool' choice to make to fit in with a particular group of people.


Alcohol is widely available to all people so it can be quite easy for a young person to get alcohol. Some shops, pubs and off-licences are not as strict as they should be when selling alcohol or asking young people for ID. Sometimes, people who are legally allowed to buy alcohol purchase alcohol for younger people.


Young people in the UK are growing up in a 'binge-drinking' culture. Young people's views on alcohol and drunkenness are influenced by culture. If they see others, like friends or family, drinking and getting drunk around them, they may be more likely to engage in drinking alcohol themselves.

Home Environment

The home is a place where young people learn about alcohol. They watch their parents and listen to their parents conversations about alcohol. Parental attitudes to alcohol may affect whether or not a young person chooses to drink when they are under 18 years of age.


Alcohol packaging can be attractive to young buyers. For example, Alcopops come in a range of bright colours and flavours which can be very eye-catching to young people.

Peer pressure

Young people may be influenced by their friends encouraging or pressurising them to drink alcohol. The young person may want to 'fit-in' with their group of friends and not seem like the 'odd-one-out' by not drinking alcohol.


Alcohol can be affordable for young people to buy. Promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free can mean that young people can buy alcohol particularly if they have a part-time job, they have their own money to buy alcohol with.

A feeling of confidence

Drinking alcohol may give a young person a feeling of courage because of the way alcohol may make them feel. This may help them become more self-confident, more talkative and feel less socially awkward in a group of people.

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