The majority of Britons have bought alcohol while underage – but it is now far less common than it was for older generations, a survey has found.

Overall, 54 per cent have found a way to buy alcohol while underage, although just 38 per cent of those currently aged between 18 and 24 have done so compared with 66 per cent of those now aged 35 to 44, the YouGov poll found.

Younger Britons are similarly less likely to have bought cigarettes while underage, at 20 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds compared with 36 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds and 45 per cent of 35 to 44-year-olds.

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What have Britons done while underage?What have Britons done while underage?

Just 13 per cent of all Britons have gambled while underage.

Michaela Coulton, research manager at YouGov Omnibus, said: “It is likely that these generational differences are influenced by a combination of increased enforcement by retailers and the government, and the fact that younger Brits are also less likely to drink and smoke than ever before.”

The most common underage activity is watching an 18-rated film at home or at a friend’s house, with 79 per cent of those old enough to have been affected by the age rating system having done so – more than twice as many who have blagged their way into a cinema to do so.

Almost half of Britons (47 per cent) old enough to have been affected by the age rating system have played an 18-rated video game while underage, while 27 per cent have bought one while underage.

:: YouGov surveyed 2,037 British adults online between October 2-3.