While skimming through smoking issues in the news I came across the following article on one of the reason teenage girls take up smoking. I am attaching a second article with this piece from back in 1998 from the American Psychological Association that addresses this same issue.
I frequently get emails from kids who are writing papers on why teens shouldn't smoke and I usually refer them to WhyQuit.com and to the teen prevention section of Freedom. I think these two articles are a valued addition to Freedom to be able to refer these kids to.
Kids who take up smoking for weight control measures are making a tragic mistake. Not only will the method of weight control likely fail, it will often result in longer term health issues which are much more dangerous than weight and may in fact even end up causing weight problems down the road. For those people here dealing with kids, share this information before they ever toy with the idea of smoking. It is much easier to educate a child who has never smoked on the benefits of staying smoke free that it is to convince a smoking child to now quit. The best way to never have to deal with quitting is to never take up smoking. The only way to guarantee that you never have to quit is to just know before you start to never take another puff!
Teenage girls smoking to stay thin, say campaigners
Apr 24 2003
Madeleine Brindley Health Editor
The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of Wales
TEENAGE girls under pressure to attain the stick-thin look of their pop and film idols are four times more likely to take up smoking.
In a bid to squeeze into micro-sized clothes, youngsters preoccupied with being thin are risking their long-term health, doctors warned yesterday.
But they are also more likely to take up other unhealthy habits, including extreme dieting that could lead to the development of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
The blame for the teen obsession with the ultra-slim has been laid firmly at the doors of the media and the pop and film industries that help perpetuate the myth that thinness equals attractiveness and success.
And anti-smoking groups said just one photograph of a slim role-model smoking is sufficient to lodge the idea that cigarettes can stop weight gain in the minds of impressionable young girls.
"Impressionable people will always be impressed by something - and if the message is `to be valuable you must be thin', then that's what some will want to achieve, and they will do anything they can to do that," said Dr Andrew Dearden, chairman of the Welsh GP Committee.
"Smoking is one of those things, but so too is not eating, vomiting after eating and taking laxatives - all of these are detrimental to people's health, not just in the short-term but also the long-term."
US research published yesterday in the journal Tobacco Control, has suggested that teen girls concerned about their weight are four times more likely to become established smokers than those who are not bothered about how much they weigh.
And as they grow up, a third of those who were extremely worried about their weight were hooked on tobacco.
One in four of those 12 to 15-year-olds who ranked thinness as moderately important to them in a phone poll in Massachusetts, originally conducted a decade ago, had become smokers when they were re-interviewed in 1997.
Yet the majority of the girls, when asked about smoking and weight loss, said cigarettes were not a means of keeping weight off.
"The underlying issue here is the desire to be thin, and smoking is used as a way of being thin," said Dr Dearden, who is a GP in Cardiff.
"But thinness and smoking is not evidence-based; rather it seems to relate to the fact that when people stop smoking they find they put on weight, probably because they always have something in their mouths out of habit.
"There are lots of over-weight smokers and yet, still, there is this impression that `if I smoke I won't gain weight' - people put two and two together and make six.
"Society must take responsibility for this as it has chosen a look that we consider to be ideal, and it is pushed in almost every form of media."
While the number of adult smokers is steadily declining in Wales, teenage girls are the fastest-growing group taking up the deadly habit. Doctors advise that the younger people start smoking, the more damage is done.
And although cigarette advertising is now banned in the UK - including the post-war ads which specifically marketed smoking as a means of weight control - it is still intrinsically linked to maintaining a slim figure because it is considered to suppress the appetite.
But smoking is also reclaiming a "sophisticated" and "cool" reputation as pop idols such as Britney Spears and Charlotte Church are snapped cigarette in hand.
"The big question is, where are these girls getting this information from, that smoking and being thin is cool?" asked Amanda Sandford, of the anti-smoking pressure group ASH.
"The answer is, from the media they read and the films they watch - even the occasional photograph of a celebrity or super model smoking is enough to register in a young girl's mind and she will consciously absorb that information.
"If the desire to be thin becomes almost obsessive, it will lead to other forms of behaviour that are less than desirable, including smoking."
APA Press Release
Date: November 22, 1998
Study Finds Smoking Does Not Keep Young Adults Thin
WASHINGTON - While the tobacco industry has named cigarettes "thins" and "slims" in an attempt to capitalize on weight-conscious young women who believe that beginning smoking will enable them to control their body weight, new research shows that for people under 30, smoking does not prevent typical age-related weight gain. A study of nearly 4,000 White and Black young adults (ages 18 to 30) to be reported in the December issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology indicates that smoking has a negligible effect on body weight.
Researchers, led by Robert C. Klesges, Ph.D., of the University of Memphis Prevention Center, investigated the relationships among smoking, smoking initiation, smoking cessation, and weight change in young adults from the national data set Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA). This is the first study to examining either continuous smoking or smoking initiation and weight gain among young adults. The researchers classified participants into six groups based on self-reported smoking status (i.e. those who never smoked, regular smokers, and those who quit during the study). Participants' self-reported smoking status and body weight were reassessed at two-, five-, and seven-year follow-ups.
The researchers found minimal evidence of a weight control benefit from smoking (meaning that smoking leads to weight loss or an attenuation of weight gain). Those who smoked, or began smoking, did not lose weight. While smoking was associated with an attenuation of weight gain among Black adults, no such effect occurred among White men or women, the latter being the group most likely to smoke "to control body weight." The finding of little immediate or even long-term (seven years) weight-control benefit from smoking among young adults goes against the beliefs of both smokers and nonsmokers that smoking helps or control limit weight gain. Thus any weight control benefit derived from smoking is likely to take many years before any significant weight difference occurs in smokers, according to the authors.
The researchers also found that individuals who quit smoking experienced greater weight gain than individuals who continued smoking or never smoked at all. Within the population that quit smoking, post-cessation weight gain was greater for Blacks (13.1 kilograms) than Whites (9.4 kilograms). Since weight gain was common in this cohort of young adults regardless of smoking status (during the study, 54% gained at least 5 kilograms and 29% gained at least 10 kilograms), weight gain attributable to smoking cessation was approximately 4.1 to 6.6 kilograms. Thus while smoking is not a successful mechanism for weight control, smoking cessation has serious long-term consequences for body weight.
"These findings have important public health implications, since the perception that smoking controls body weight is widespread, particularly among youth," said Dr. Klesges, lead author of the study. "Every day, many young Americans begin smoking believing that it will help them lose weight, but these results demonstrate that smoking does not help control weight, and only after decades of smoking do we see a difference in body weights of smokers and non-smokers. If young people throughout the nation can learn that smoking has no effect on body weight, it is likely that a significant reduction among smoking in youth would be observed."
The authors suggest that future research should look at the effects of smoking on body weight among younger participants, since the pre-teen and teenage years are when individuals typically start smoking. While this research focused on smoking and weight gain among Whites and Blacks, future studies should also gauge whether these findings apply to other ethnic groups.
Article: "The Prospective Relationships Between Smoking and Weight in a Young, Biracial Cohort: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study" by Robert C. Klesges, Ph.D., Kenneth D. Ward, Ph.D., and JoAnne W. Ray, Ph.D., University of Memphis Prevention Center, David R. Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Gary Cutter, Ph.D., AMC Cancer Research Center, and Lynn E. Wagenknecht, Ph.D., Bowman Gray School of Medicine, in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 66, No. 6.
Robert C. Klesges, Ph.D. can be reached at (901) 763-6405
The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 155,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 50 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 59 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.