WASHINGTONDaily cigarette smoking among high school seniors declined in 1998, down to 22.4% from 24.6% in 1997. However, the 1998 rate remains significantly higher than the 17.2% recorded in 1992 and not far removed from the 25.4% found in 1979, according to a survey conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The study found that the percentage of 12th graders who smoked at least a half-pack per day dropped to 12.6% in 1998, from 14.3% in 1997. Black students had the lowest smoking rates for the year, with 12.6% reporting some smoking in the month prior to the survey, compared with 41.7% of whites and 26.6% of Hispanics.
The statistics were compiled as part of Monitoring the Future, an annual survey of teen substance abuse conducted since 1975 by the University of Michigans Institute for Social Research.