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The prevalence of a wide range of risk-taking behaviour among high-school students in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, was investigated. In this article, the results for cigarette smoking are presented. Cluster sam.pling techniques produced a sample of 7 340 students from 16 schools in the three major education departments. A selfadministered questionnaire was completed in a normal school period. Estimates for each education department were weighted to produce an overall estimate. Of the students 18,1% indicated that they smoked at least 1 cigarette per day. Of these, 66,9% had tried to stop. Of those who did not smoke at least 1 cigarette per day, 41,2% had smoked previously and 3,6% intended to start smoking. There were different trends according to gender, standard, and language(s) spoken at home. Of note was the small percentage of Xhosa speaking females who smoked. There is an urgent need for smoking prevention programmes in schools.