Consumption of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs was noticeably lower in Spain, a main entry point in Europe for cannabis and cocaine, during 2007-08, according to a government study released Tuesday.
"We are going in the right direction," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told a news conference called to present the results of the study carried out among 23,715 Spaniards between the ages of 15 and 64.
Just over one in ten participants in the study, 10.2 percent, reported consuming alcohol every day, while 29.6 percent said they consumed tobacco daily, the lowest level for both products since 1997.
Another 10.1 percent of the sample reported having consumed cannabis at least once over the past 12 months, its lowest level since 2003.
Consumption of cocaine, which had risen steadily since 1999, remained stable during the period of the study with three percent of participants reporting to have taken the drug at least once over the past 12 months.
Spain has the highest cocaine consumption rate in Europe.
Rubalcaba said the study showed the average age which people begin to take drugs had increased slightly, which he said was the result of government campaigns to fight the sale of drugs to minors.
Spain, with its extensive coastline, is Europe's main point of entry for Moroccan cannabis, from which hashish is produced, and for cocaine from South America, mostly from its former colony Colombia.