Smoking to lose weight is significantly more common among teens in the look out for slimming down. Girls who said they were “much too fat” were nearly 225 percent more likely to smoke to lose weight than girls who said their weight was about right. Teen smoking is a particularly worrisome public health concern, because people who start smoking by their early 20s are likely to continue in adulthood. And tobacco is the No. 1 preventable cause of death all over the world.
According to “The Demand for Cigarettes as Derived from the Demand for Weight Loss: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation,” that appeared in the January 2016 issue of Health Economics. The survey asked the children whether they had done anything to lose weight, what that action was and whether they smoked and how frequently. The researchers found that white teens were more than twice as likely as African-American adolescents to smoke for weight loss.
Another serious concern is that other tobacco products—including pipes, hookahs, smokeless tobacco, or bidis—are also commonly used by youth worldwide. In fact, prevalence of use of these products is higher than that of cigarettes in many countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and sub-Saharan Africa.
Evidence has shown that smoking leads to more visceral fat in the stomach area.
Teenaged girls are more likely to see tobacco as an appetite suppressant. What they often fail to recognize is that going for regular brisk walks can reduce cigarette cravings and help them attain a healthy weight at the same time. While the proportion of teenaged smokers has declined in the past few decades, this drop leveled off in recent years.
Teenage girls who attempt to stop smoking may experience symptoms of withdrawal, according to a study in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, and those symptoms can include:
- An urge to smoke
- A craving for nicotine
- Mood swings
- Strong reactions to smoking cues, such a photographs of people smoking
Get Help! Do Not Delay.
Teens who smoke may benefit from nicotine replacement therapies, but these should be closely managed by a health care professional. Not all nicotine replacement products made for adults are safe for teens to take, and a doctor should be firmly in charge of a teen’s dosing schedule. Therapies like this provide only part of the puzzle, however, as teens will also need to learn more about how to keep their cravings in check so they can avoid the urge to relapse in the future. Teens who use drugs as well as nicotine might also need advanced therapies, so they can learn how to control their urges to use drugs.