The number of teenagers and young people shunning alcohol entirely has almost doubled in a decade, research shows.

Researchers said teetotalism was becoming increasingly "mainstream" among younger generations, where drunkenness was deemed less acceptable.

The study by University College London found that the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who do not drink alcohol has increased from 18 per cent in 2005 to 29 per cent in 2015.

The trend was driven by the number of young people who had never been drinkers, the Daily Telegraph reports.

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The figures, from the annual Health Survey for England, show that the proportion of "lifetime abstainers" rose from 9 per cent in 2005 to 17 per cent a decade later.

Researchers said the findings, published in the journal BMC Public Health, suggested that norms around alcohol drinking appeared to be changing among younger generations

Dr Linda Ng Fat, lead author of the study, said: "The increase in young people who choose not to drink alcohol suggests that this behaviour maybe becoming more acceptable, whereas risky behaviours such as binge drinking may be becoming less normalised."

The study suggests fewer people are drinking harmful amounts.

In 2005 43 per cent admitted drinking above recommended safe limits, but this fell to just 28 per cent 10 years later. Binge drinking rates also decreased from 27 per cent in 2005 to 18 per cent in 2015.

But the increased rates in non-drinking were not observed among smokers, ethnic minorities and those with poor mental health, according to the study, which analysed data on almost 10,000 young people.

"Increases in non-drinking among young people were found across a broad range of groups, including those living in northern or southern regions of England, among the white population, those in full-time education, in employment and across all social classes and healthier groups," Dr Linda Ng Fat, lead author of the study.

"That the increase in non-drinking was found across many different groups suggests that non-drinking may becoming more mainstream among young people which could be caused by cultural factors."

Separate research last year suggested that millennials avoid geting drunk because they see it as something that old people do. The data, from a survey by Eventbrite, shows that only one in ten see getting drunk as "cool".

They're much more likely to consider it "pathetic" or "embarrassing", with four in ten having an overall negative view of someone who is drunk. Experts suggested that millennials were not using alcohol to deal with their problems because they are more comfortable talking about them openly instead.

Earlier this year, doctors warned that the baby boomer generation was fast becoming the "highest risk group" across all age groups, with men and women in their 60s and 70s suffering the results of decades of excess.

Current Government advice suggests a limit of 14 units of alcohol a week for men and women.

UK statistics show a 20 per cent rise in the number of people aged 65 and over drinking above recommended drinking limits, in the last decade, with older drinkers the only group to see a continued rise.