Teenagers in the U.S. are drinking and smoking less than has been the pattern for 40 years. According to a Monitoring the Future survey, young people are using these and other drugs less, with marijuana use dropping among 8th-graders through 10th-graders. University of Michigan researcher Lloyd Johnston, who has led the study since 1975 supposes that though we don’t know the exact reason for this, a lower smoking rate could be a big help. Smoking is often a gateway drug for teens, and the smoking rate has declined. In 2001, the number of 12th-graders that said they’d been drunk at least once was at 53% That number has dropped to 37.3 percent.