New study explodes smoking myth about teen weight loss but shows smoking makes boys shorter

Wednesday 26 March, 2008

Smoking cigarettes won't help teenage girls lose weight, but teenage boys who smoke are shorter than their non-smoking counterparts a new study has revealed.

The Canadian study published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology, followed more than 1,250 teenagers from age 12 through 17, asking them every three months to complete a questionnaire exploring their smoking and lifestyle habits.

The research concluded that girls who smoke do not end up skinnier than girls who did not smoke but in fact have a similar height and BMI.

However there was a difference in the boys' heights, with smokers appearing to be shorter by 2.54 centimetres in average, compared to those teenage boys who did not smoke.

Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie, said these findings were significant given many young women cite weight loss or weight control as a reason for taking up the deadly habit and electing not to quit.

"Teenage girls who are unhappy about their weight often take up smoking because they think it will make them thinner, however this study shows smoking has no impact on weight loss or weight control for young women."

"Half of long terms smokers will end up dying of a smoking-caused disease with the majority having started smoking in adolescence, therefore research dismantling the myth that smoking makes you thin is enormously important as it may discourage teenage girls from taking up the habit in the first place ."

Ms Sharkie said that many teenage boys would be alarmed to learn that smoking does indeed stunt their growth.

"The research is pretty clear - teenage boys who smoke are shorter than non-smokers"

"Sometimes we forget that boys are just as concerned about their body image but I think these findings send a message to teenagers of both sexes that smoking has no physical benefits," said Ms Sharkie.

 

ends

Edwina Pearse,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email:
Edwina.Pearse@cancervic.org.au