• 48.4% of students aged 14 to 18 have tried electronic cigarettes, compared to 20.1% in 2016

At a press conference on Tuesday morning the acting minister of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare in office, María Luisa Carcedo, highlighted the importance of the results of the STUDIES survey “to guide policies and improve the effectiveness of actions against addictions”.

The survey, which is carried out for young people between 14 and 18 years of age throughout Spain, shows an increase in the use of electronic cigarettes. Half of the students (48.4%) have ever used them while in the previous survey, carried out during 2016, the number was one in five (20.1%).

The proportion of electronic cigarette users is now considerably higher among those who smoke tobacco than among those who do not.

The study also reveals that consumption is more common among boys, regardless of age. Among those students who use electronic cigarettes, 67.1% used cartridges without nicotine, 11.3% with nicotine and 21.6% used cartridges use both types.

Compulsive use of Internet

Compulsive internet use has stabilised at 20%. Specifically, 1% less than in the previous edition of STUDIES. In this case, a higher prevalence is observed among girls (23.4%) than among boys (16.4%).

Video games

For the first time, the STUDIES survey reflects the use of video games. 82.2% of respondents say they have played video games in the last year. Specifically, 47.9% have played eSports and 34.7% have been spectators. The majority are boys of 14 and 15 years.

Most consumed drugs

STUDIES 2018-2019 shows that the drugs consumed most by students (in the last twelve months) are, firstly, alcohol (75.9%) and secondly tobacco (35%). Cannabis is followed at (27.5%).

Other drugs have a lower prevalence. 2.4% of respondents confess that they have used cocaine in the last 12 months. In this same survey, ecstasy has been consumed by 1.9%; the new psychoactive substances, 1.7%; hallucinogens, 1.4%; methamphetamines, 1.2% and amphetamines, 1.1%. The rest of the substances studied (more than 20) are less than 1%.

Higher male consumption

The consumption of illegal drugs is more widespread among boys than among girls.

Regarding risk perception, alcohol is the substance that is perceived as less dangerous. 76.8% attribute “many or many problems” to the consumption of 5 or 6 measures or glasses on the weekend. Since 2010, students consider that the use of tobacco is more dangerous than cannabis.

In terms of availability, 9 out of 10 students aged 14 to 17 do not have any difficulty in getting alcohol and tobacco when they want even though the sale is prohibited to minors. The illegal drug that is perceived as the most available is cannabis: 68.1% believe that it is easy or very easy to acquire.

Most significant data by substances Alcohol

Alcohol consumption remains at high levels. 77.9% of students between 14 and 18 have tried it once (76.9% in 2016). 75.9% have drunk in the last year (75.6% in 2016) and 58.5% have drank in the last month (67.0% in 2016).

The average age first taking a drink is 14 years. In 1994, it was 13 and a half.

Regarding consumption patterns, 32.3% of students say they have tried binge drinking alcohol in the last 30 days (31.7% in 2016). Of the total number of students who drank alcohol, half (55.5%) admit having undertaking binge drinking.

Drunkenness has increased slightly. 24.3% of students say they got drunk in the last month, compared to 21.8% in 2016. The percentage of drunkenness is higher in girls. This difference is especially relevant at age 14: 11.7% of girls admit to having got drunk in the last 30 days, while the figure among boys of the same age is 7.6%.


Tobacco is the second most widespread drug in use after alcohol. 35.0% (34.7% in 2016) of students have smoked tobacco in the last year. Daily consumption stands at 9.8% (8.8% in 2016). In 1998, 23.1% of this sector of the population smoked daily.

On average, consumption of tobacco first occurs at 14.1 years, as was the case in 2016. Those who smoke on a daily basis start at 14.7 years on average, just 6 months after trying it for first time.

The perception of risk with daily tobacco use has increased and now 93.8% of young people think that it can cause health problems.


Cannabis continues to be the illegal drug consumed by the largest percentage of students. 33.0% (31.1% in 2016) have tried it sometime in their lives, 27.5% (26.3% in 2016) in the last year and 19.3% (18.3% in 2016) in the last month. Daily consumption remains high and stands at 2.3% (3.3% in boys and 1.4% in girls).

The percentage of problematic cannabis users (it was first measured in 2006) among the population aged 14 to 18 is 15.4% (13.3% in 2016).


The survey shows a decrease in cocaine consumption in all age groups. A historical minimum is reached in the proportion of students aged 14 to 18 who say they have used cocaine in the last month (0.9%).

This figure in 2004 was 3.8%. The average age of first consumption is 15.2 years and men consume more than women, in all age groups.


The percentage of those who have tried heroin among students aged 14 to 18 years is below 1%. Since 1994 no measurement has exceeded this figure. The average age of onset of consumption in 2018-2019 is 14.5 years.

New psychoactive substances (NSPs)

A decline is recorded. 2.4% of students (2.9% of boys and 1.9% of girls) acknowledge having used substances of this type at some time in their life and 1.7% in the last 12 months. In 2016, the percentages were 4.5% and 3.1%, respectively.

Survey fact sheet

The XIII edition of the Survey on Drug Use in Secondary Education in Spain (ESTUDES) has been prepared from 38,010 questionnaires answered by students aged 14 to 18, 1,769 classrooms corresponding to 917 public and private educational centres. The sample is collected throughout Spain and is nationally representative, with a margin of error of 0.6% for a confidence level of 95.5%. The fieldwork was carried out between February 4, 2019 and April 5, 2019.

This survey is promoted and funded by the Government Delegation for the National Drug Plan and has the co-operation of the Autonomous Communities and Cities. STUDIES has been carried out every two years since 1994.



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