|This study has three parts: a study on youth smoking and use of intoxicants, a study on health education curricula at the comprehensive school in Ylivieska, and a study on health education projects and programmes in Ylivieska. The Youth research was able to chart the prevalence of smoking and use of intoxicants among youth aged 12-19, as well as the changes brought along with age. The School research aims at studying the planning of new educational curricula, the contents of health education and the related practical work. The idea was to give as comprehensive and reliable a view as possible of education and instruction related to smoking and use of intoxicants in Ylivieska so that those concerned with this work would have a better basis on which to plan and direct their actions. The Youth Research aimed at determining the suitable age at which to begin systematic, intensive health education related to smoking and intoxicants. My methods were the study of documentary material, a questionnaire survey, interviews, observational methods and a case study. The first part of the Youth Research done in 1989 was carried out so that all pupils in grades 7 through 9 who were at school on that particular day participated in the research. In 1991, all students in the 9th grade who had been in the 7th grade in 1989 participated in the second part. In 1992, all pupils who were in the 9ú grade in 1989 participated in the third part. In 1994, all pupils who were in the 7th grade in 1989 and in the 9th grade in 1991 participated in the fourth part. The first follow-up group participated in the research from 1989 to 1992 and the second, from 1989 to 1994. The follow-up was carried out by studying the groups. My study shows that the share of girls who smoke is increasing, while that of boys is in decline. Girls have their first contact with smoking at the age of 13, boys at the age of 12.5; for pupils in senior secondary school, the age is 13 and for others, 12. Girls become regular, daily smokers slightly before the age of 15, while boys are usually slightly over that age when they begin regular, daily smoking. The use of alcohol becomes more frequent along with age. Smoking and the use of alcohol is increasingly common among girls. The frequency of smoking and use of alcohol is growing among both girls and boys, but proportionately girls show greater increase in frequency. Girls first experiment with alcohol on average at the age of 13 and boys at the age of 12.5. Alcohol seems increasingly often to be used for the sole purpose of intoxication. Only some 10 per cent of youth graduating senior secondary school abstain from drink completely. The percentage of abstaining girts has declined significantly more than that of boys. These results show that health education related to smoking and intoxicants is necessary. The best way to provide such education is to include in the curriculum a school course or subject common to all pupils. More emphasis should be given to health education, and it should be more consistent. Action is needed on the part of various educational sectors, Laws governing smoking and drugs are violated in a number of ways. Teachers should be given more intensive instruction on health education already at the comprehensive school-level and supplementary education should also be provided. Attitudes also need be adjusted towards a more positive direction. The implementation of new education curricula should be better co-ordinated and monitored. Ylivieska is not a participant in the national survey on health at schools, rendering this study all the more important. The survey on health at schools has showed that there are great differences both between municipalities and between different schools within the same municipality. This also goes to show the significance of a local study. Finally, this study is also unique in its exceptionally comprehensive approach.