Rising Teenage Addiction to Alcohol and Cigarettes Raises Concerns in Pune

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Pune, 30th November 2023: The easy availability of alcohol and cigarettes, combined with societal factors such as status symbols and peer pressure, is contributing to a significant increase in addiction among teenagers and students in Pune. Reports suggest that up to 15 per cent of youth are now involved in alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking, diverting their attention from education and career development.

Parties in elite colonies and the exchange of alcohol at social gatherings are identified as potential catalysts for this rise in addiction. Status symbols, changing lifestyles, and peer pressure are drawing adolescents towards harmful habits. Counsellors and psychologists emphasize that hormonal changes, curiosity, and peer pressure are common reasons for addiction among teenagers. Additionally, family environments and lack of communication can contribute to these issues. Education researcher Dr Shruti Panse highlights the need for communication and counselling, urging parents to be aware of their children’s friends and to engage in both individual and group counselling.

Social activist Anand Randhir emphasizes the importance of understanding the societal pressures and competition that contribute to addiction. He calls for increased attention to children’s mental health, urging parents to communicate, respect, and emotionally support their children. Counselor Sangita Nimbalkar points out the influence of advertisements, family disputes, and societal factors in pushing students towards addiction. To address these concerns, workshops, speeches, and awareness campaigns are being organized at the school level.

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In the context of maintaining mental health, experts suggest engaging in hobbies, such as reading, writing, sports, or meditation. They stress the importance of spending quality time with family and encouraging positive activities to alleviate stress and promote mental well-being in today’s stressful world.