Young more tolerant towards gays

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More than two in five young people in Britain believe that the age of consent for homosexuals should be lowered, according to the findings of a survey on youth attitudes.

The NOP poll of 986 adults aged 16 years and over in England and Wales, however, found that this general increase in tolerance for homosexuality among those aged 16-34 was not reflected among the over-35s. Seventy-two per cent of the general adult population declared themselves to be against any lowering of the age of consent from 18 to 16 years.

Tolerance on the issue of gay sex does not extend to smoking or "alcopops". More than two-thirds of those questioned were in favour of raising the legal age of smoking from the current 16 to 18 years of age. Support for a total ban on alcopops among the under-25s, whilst less overwhelming than among the over-35s, was still around one third of those questioned. Louise Hancock