WELLINGTON, Feb 15 - Results from the Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) survey, released on Wednesday, show that out of 25,000 year 10 students, only 2.2 per cent smoke daily, compared with 15.2 per cent when a similar survey was done in 1999.

At the same time, the number of students who have never even taken a puff of a cigarette has increased to nearly 80 per cent, an increase from 55 per cent a decade ago.

ASH Programme Manager, Boyd Broughton, says the decline in smoking for year 10 students is one of the big success stories of the smokefree movement in New Zealand.

"We are releasing the results as young people return to school because much of this success has been down to the hard work and commitment of schools to being smokefree," she said.

"Young people are highly influenced by the environment around them, especially what their peers and parents do. Schools are doing a great job fostering smokefree environments and contributing to the decline in year 10 smoking."

There were still some concerning numbers, Mr Broughton said, with Maori students showing higher smoking rates than their European counterparts - 5.9 per cent versus 1 per cent.