Last week New Zealand announced it will outlaw smoking for the next generation. The legal smoking age will increase every year so that those aged 14 and under will never be able to buy tobacco legally anymore. This policy fits the nature of a generation that is adopting more healthy behaviours across the board. For example, worldwide studies report that drinking has been steadily decreasing among young people as well. Generation Z members report drinking 20% less per capita than millennials — who drank less than babyboomers and Generation X — did at the same age.
This decline in drinking in turn is identified as an important reason why casual sex is also declining among young people in America. They found that between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of 18-to 23-year-old men who had casual sex in the past month dropped from 38% to 24%. For women, the percentage dropped from 31% to 21%. Even though casual sex is not necessarily unhealthy, it does signal a broader shift away from instant gratification among young people. We might be looking at a generation that’s very conscious of making the right choices.