Teenagers who give up smoking are much more likely to succeed if they also do exercise, compared to others of the same age who try to quit, researchers from West Virginia reported in the journal Pediatrics. The addition of physical exercise was found to be especially effective for boys.

Kimberly Horn, EdD, of the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, and colleagues set out to determine how effective smoking cessation programs were for teenagers. They found that those that included physical activity were 48% more effective over a six-month period than programs that did not.

They recruited 233 teenagers who had smoked at least one cigarette recently. The adolescents came from 19 state schools in West Virginia.

They were randomly selected into one of three groups:
  • A brief intervention group
  • The N-O-T (Not On Tobacco) smoking cessation program group
  • The N-O-T + FIT group. The same as the group above, but there was also a physical activity component in their program.. This group also had a challenge log and a pedometer.
For both boys and girls, the N-O-T program was considerably more effective than the brief intervention in helping them to quit and to stay off tobacco products.

N-O-T + FIT program was four times as effective for boys compared to their peers in the brief intervention group.

13.75% of boys and girls in the N-O-T + FIT group quit for at least 7 days at the end of the program, compared to 11.11% in the N-O-T group, and 4.76% in the brief intervention group.

Girls did better in the N-O-T group while boys did better in the N-O-T + FIT group.

The authors concluded:

"Adding physical activity to N-O-T may enhance cessation success, particularly among boys."

A study carried out by Cancer Research UK found that younger people are more likely to become smokers if tobacco displays in shops are attractive, and if they can easily recall seeing the displays. In the study, which was published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, youngsters between 11 and 16 years of age across the United Kingdom were interviewed.

Over 70% of those interviewed thought the shop displays should be removed - that tobacco products in shops should be out of sight. (Link to article)

Written by Christian Nordqvist