Youngsters are taking to drinking at a younger age now, much below 18 years, a trend which is more visible during the festive season of Christmas and New Year, according to a survey.
The survey conducted by Assocham Social Development Foundation noted that peer pressure, increased media exposure, rising eating out culture and more disposable money at the hands of youngsters are the principle reasons for under-age drinking habits.
It found that school kids, aged 14 onwards, in big cities like Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa and Chandigarh, get into the drinking habit.
The survey in which more than 1,770 youngsters, aged between 14 to 29 participated, a quarter of participants responded that they spend between Rs 2,000 and Rs 10,000 on alcohol during Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations in the big cities.
Most of the respondents were from affluent families from Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Bangalore and Dehradun.
The study found besides Goa, consumption of liquor is more in vogue in Delhi-NCR region, followed by Mumbai, Bangalore and Chandigarh.
While majority of the juvenile drinking is found among boys, girls too were taking to it in big numbers, largely due to peer pressures, it observed.
About 69 per cent of youngsters between the age group 20 to 29 admitted binge drinking during the New Year season, with men more likely to drink more than women, the survey found.
"Over 52 per cent of teens who admitted drinking, said they took to liquor when they were upset; 8 per cent said they drink alone; 2 per cent said they drink when they were bored; and 47 per cent said they drink to get high," the survey said.
The survey pointed out that low pricing, a lack of standardised proof of age schemes and poor enforcement makes it easy for retailers to sell to underage kids.