That's the good news. The bad news is that new forms of risky behavior, such as texting while driving, is increasingly becoming a problem. The information comes from the CDC's annual National Youth Risk Behavior Survey of more than 13,000 high school students across the country.
According to the survey, the teen smoking rate has dropped to 15.7 percent, the lowest rate since the survey began in 1991.
Teens also are having far fewer fights and physical confrontations:
- The percentage of high school students nationwide who had been in a physical fight at least once during the past 12 months decreased from 42 percent in 1991 to 25 percent in 2013.
- Fights on school property have been cut in half during the past 20 years. Sixteen percent of high school students were in at least one physical fight on school property during the 12 months before the survey in 1993, compared to 8 percent in 2013.
The CDC also asked teenagers about their driving habits and their use of technology. The number of teens who texted or emailed when driving ranged from 32 percent to 61 percent depending on the state.
Overall, 41 percent of those surveyed reported they texted or emailed while driving in the 30 days prior to the survey being taken.
Although the number of teenagers, according to the survey, who are sexually active has dropped since 1991, but they also are being less careful.
- The percentage of high school students who are currently sexually active (had sexual intercourse during the past three months) has declined from 38 percent in 1991 to 34 percent in 2013.
- Among the high school students who are currently sexually active, condom use also has declined from 63 percent in 2003 to 59 percent in 2013. This decline follows a period of increased condom use throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.