American teens are not only smoking less but are drinking less than their European counterparts. That's not to say American teens are angels as they, on average, use more illicit drugs than European teens.
Iceland may be the real winner in this new study of American and European alcohol, smoking, and drug usage. Iceland had the lowest percentage of teens that smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol while also having lower percentages of illicit drug usage than most European countries.
The studies European teens are based on the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future surveys of American teens between the ages of 15 and 16 on drug, alcohol, and smoking habits. For the American part of the survey, 15,400 students in 10th grade from 126 high schools were surveyed. The European study involved over 100,000 students who were nationally representative of the 36 European countries.
While these results are mostly positive for American teens, illicit drug use for American teens still remains a cause for concern. Marijuana usage in Americans was only behind France and Monaco in regards to the percentage of teens who had smoked marijuana or hashish 30 days prior to the study. For the survey, 18 percent of teens had reported smoking marijuana or hashish while on average that number was at seven percent for European countries. For France, the number was at 24 percent while Monaco was at 21 percent.