New survey shows what students are up to - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New survey shows what students are up to

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KENNEWICK, Wash.—A new survey shows what some Washington students are up to whether it is drinking, smoking, or avoiding them all together.

The Department of Health conducts the study every two years.  It assesses thousands of students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12.

The study shows since the year 2000 cigarette smoking has dropped by half.  It's not declining as rapidly anymore and many who do use tobacco are now using flavored products.  In fact chewing tobacco by 10th graders is on the rise especially among girls.  The rate has more than doubled in the past ten years to about 3%.

"Without a doubt the most important point in this survey is the more active and involved parents are, the more parents are talking with kids about these issues, the better the outcome usually is," says Tim Church, Department of Health.

The survey also shows alcohol is the drug most used by youth but underage drinking has gone down in the past 20 years.

Sexually active students were also looked at for the first time in this study.  Researchers found 31% of 10th graders and 53% of 12th graders have had sexual intercourse.