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Teens giving cigarettes, alcohol the go-by for fruits, veggies

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London: Seems like the Goody Two-Shoes generation is taking over the age of the unruly teenager who indulges in illicit drinking and smoking as a new study has revealed that kids in England are turning their backs on cigarettes and alcohol for the fruits and vegetables.

The Health Survey for England, published this month by Britain’s leading independent social research institute, found that only a small minority of under-16s has ever tried an alcoholic drink or a cigarette and almost a quarter now eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, the Independent reported.

The change in attitude can be traced back to stricter attitudes towards drinking and smoking among parents, public health drives and a clampdown on under-age sales by newsagents and off-licences.

Rachel Craig, the head of health surveys at NatCen Social Research, said the stereotype of the alcopop-drinking, cigarette-puffing teenager continually succumbing to peer pressure, memorably exploited by the comedian Harry Enfield through his characters Kevin and Perry, was now much less likely to be the norm as kids were now “rebelling in different ways.”

She added that the cost of drinking and smoking continues to be high and there is more enforcement around, which makes it very hard for children, especially younger children, to buy alcohol now. “With smoking, there’s a lot more checking up on newsagents not slipping packets of fags to children, and I’m sure that’s having an impact.”

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