From the university of the blindingly obvious: Young adults with tattoos and piercings 'are heavier drinkers'
Parents should consider tattoos and piercings as
potential 'markers' of drinking, says professor

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UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 17 April 2012

Women with tattoos and piercings drank twice as much alcohol on average than those with no body art

Women with tattoos and piercings had breathalyzer readings that were twice as high on average than those with no body art

It may seem like a stereotype that people with tattoos are more likely to indulge in 'risky' behaviour, but a French study has suggested they do at least drink more alcohol.

A study involving nearly 3,000 young adults found a strong link between binge drinking and body art.

Researchers from the Universit de Bretagne-Sud found women with both tattoos and piercings had consumed twice the amount of alcohol then women who had neither. Meanwhile men with both tattoos and piercing drank 44 per cent more than men who had neither.

'We found that pierced and/or tattooed
individuals had consumed more alcohol in bars on a Saturday night than
patrons in the same bars who were non pierced and non tattooed,' said study author Professor Nicolas
Guguen.

'This is the first time that we found a relation among tattoos,
piercings, and alcohol consumption in France.'

Prof Guguen conducted his first-of-its-kind
survey on four different Saturday nights, when most French youth
frequent bars and clubs.

They approached 2,970 young men and women coming out of 21 bars in Brittany and asked if they had
tattoos and piercings before asking if they would take a breathalyzer test.

The average age of the 1,965 who agreed to take part was 20 years old.

The team found men with no body art had an average of 0.18mg of alcohol per litre of exhaled air. Men with both piercings and tattoos had a reading of 0.26mg.

Women with no body art had an average alcohol measure of 0.12, which rose to 0.24 for women who had both piercings and tattoos.

Results will be published in the July
2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are
currently available at Early View.

Prof Guguen suggested parents and doctors should consider tattoos and piercings as
potential 'markers' of drinking, using them to begin a conversation
about alcohol consumption as well as other risky behaviors.

'A host of previous studies have
routinely shown that individuals with body piercings or tattoos are more
likely to engage in risky behavior than non-pierced or non tattooed
people,' he said.

However, Professor Myrna Armstrong, from Texas Tech University, who work was cited by Prof Guguen, said: 'I am concerned with the tendency to see a
tattoo or piercing and automatically profile or stereotype that
individual as a 'high-risk person' as this may or may not be conducive
for helping them.

'A clinician, for example, can spend some time not
judging individuals about their present tattoos, but talking to them
about safe tattooing, etc. and alcohol in general … not because they
have tattoos or piercings but because they are in a high-risk age
group.'

She added that people have tattoos or piercings for different reasons, such as religious beliefs. In addition, there is a difference between those who have few tattoos or piercings and those who have many.

'In 2009, we conducted a study of those with one to two, three to four, and five or more tattoos,' she said.

'We found that those with only one tattoo were very similar to those without any tattoos in terms of high-risk behaviors, including alcohol.'