Teetotallers are affected by other students' drinking
Almost three quarters of university students who are light drinkers or teetotallers are directly negatively affected by the behaviour of heavy drinkers around them, according to a report in the BMJ.1 These secondhand effects included interruptions to study, unwanted sexual advances, and damage to property.
Researchers from New Zealand assessed these effects using an online questionnaire offered to 1910 students aged 16-29 at the University of Otago. A total of 1524 (82%) of the students responded. The students' responses were anonymous, encouraging them to be honest about the drunken behaviour of others. The questionnaire asked which secondhand effects had occurred in the previous four weeks, and respondents' own alcohol intake was also assessed.
A total of 253 non-heavy drinkers included 191 students who drank fewer than six drinks on any one occasion and 62 teetotallers; about three quarters of these reported secondhand effects.
The authors concluded, “The needs of the