Thursday, December 18, 2008

Preventing youth smoking: tell them they could become fat

This article caught my eye today. Now, we all know the effects of smoking on one's health. There are a number of illnesses that can cause damage later in life, including a variety of cancers and heart disease. Experts are always trying to find ways to prevent youth from starting the smoking habit. The latest now is that by smoking in adolescence, there is an increased risk of being fat later in life. They feel this may be more effective than mentioning the risks about heart disease, diabetes, and lung cancer.

This thinking is all based on an upcoming article in the American Journal of Public Health of a long-term Finnish study of 4300 twins. The study looked at their smoking habits as adolescents and their body shape in young adulthood. Of the 12 percent who smoked during adolescence, 24 percent of men and 11 percent of women were overweight in their early 20s. These results were independent of health habits, participants' body weights, and genetics. Females who also smoked at least 10 cigarettes daily during adolescence had double the risk of becoming overweight as their non-smoking counterparts, according to this study.

While it is true that teenagers certainly feel as though they are invincible, I don't know that telling them they could be fat later in life is a better alternative for the prevention of smoking. This is yet another reminder how fat phobic we are as a society and this only provides a mere scare tactic.


Crimson Wife said...

Interesting finding, because one of the primary reasons teen girls often have for starting to smoke is wanting to be thin. So I think this could actually help prevent them from starting smoking if they knew it actually RAISED their risk of becoming overweight.

Gaining Back My Life said...

YES-who cares if you could die. God forbid you become obese! (shaking head).

Lola Snow said...

It's why I won't quit. I've watched so many of my friends pile on the quitters pounds, and obviously that is not yet in my sights as a positive gain....

Lola x

MelissaS said...

this is a hard one. it is horrible that being thin is being used as a tool for getting teens off cigarettes. it's beyond infuriating that thin means ANYTHING. but, if anything can get teenagers to stop smoking, maybe it's worth a shot? i just don't know. another example of -- we live in a really weird world.

Tiptoe said...

Good thoughts everyone.

Crimson wife and MelissaS, it is a hard thing. On one hand, you do want to prevent teens for stopping smoking, but on the other, it's adding to the already "fat" debate among things. I'm sure for some teens that this will be enough of an incentive to not smoke, but others it won't be.

Lola, I have seen some friends who have quit gain weight and others who have not. Really, it does become about using other healthy alternatives. I think part of the reason why people turn more towards food when stopping to smoke is because their tastebuds find food more pleasureable again.

The one thing I can say about stopping smoking is that you do look "healthier" and more vibrant.

GBML, yeah, shaking head too.

adelen said...

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