A new national survey has found that there has been a decline in drinking frequency among 35 to 44-year-olds.

Just over half (51%) of drinkers in this age group drink at least once a week, with 26% doing so multiple times a week.

It compares with 60% of drinkers in this age group drinking at least once a week in 2021.

The survey found that 32% of those who consumed alcohol in the previous six months are considered binge drinkers, higher than the 22% recorded in the previous year.

It found that alcohol consumption patterns for some have returned to what they were prior to the Covid-19 restrictions but for many drinkers, they are still drinking less than they were prior to the introduction of restrictions.

The Healthy Ireland Survey is an annual survey conducted for the Department of Health with a representative sample of the population aged 15 years and older.

The sample size was over 7,500 people and the interviews were done by Ipsos MRBI between November 2021 and July 2022.

The number of smokers has fallen from 23% in 2015 to 18% this year, the survey reveals, with 25 to 34-year-olds the age group most likely to smoke.

It means that there are around 250,000 fewer smokers today.

Men are more likely to smoke across all age groups.

The survey shows that the longer-term trend in a decline in smoking has stalled mainly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Kieran O'Leary, Head of Public Affairs, Ipsos MRBI.

The survey found that 23% of those who attempted to quit smoking in the last 12 months were successful.