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Teen Boys are more likely to Quit Smoking than Girls

Update Date: Jun 03, 2014 03:33 PM EDT
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Smoking can lead to several health diseases, such as lung and throat cancer. Due to the many negative effects that tobacco has on the body, researchers have been studying ways to prevent people from starting the habit. In a new study, researchers found that overall, teen boys were more likely to quit smoking than teen girls. In addition, they found that teens that were afraid of the warning labels on cigarettes and teens that participated in team sports were also more likely to quit the habit.

"It is imperative that we better understand the factors that promote smoking discontinuation in girls compared with boys, so that we can design gender-specific interventions," study author Jennifer O'Loughlin, a professor in the department of social and preventive medicine at the University of Montreal, said.

For this study, the researchers examined 620 children between the ages of 12 and 13 from Montreal, Canada. All of the preteens and teens had started smoking occasionally. Roughly 40 percent of them reported having parents that smoked, almost 90 percent had friends who smoked and around 80 percent stated that they saw teachers or school staff members smoke.

The researchers followed the children over the five years. During this time span, 40 percent of them had stopped smoking. The team calculated that teen boys were 80 percent more likely to quit the habit than teen girls. Older teens were also more likely than younger ones to quit.

When the team examined the effects of warning labels, they found that teens that reported being scared of these warnings were 44 percent more likely to quit. Teens that participated in team sports were 40 percent more likely to stop smoking. The researchers also found several other factors that reduced teens' likelihood of quitting. These factors included family stress, weight issues, drug use and strong cravings.

"Overall, these results support that healthy family habits, which include nonsmoking as the norm as well as positive exchange and functioning, will help novice smokers discontinue smoking," O'Loughlin said according to WebMD. "Parents who smoke should understand the effects of their smoking on their children, and families should work together or with professionals to identify and reduce sources of family stress. Parents should engage their children in sports and other healthy activities."

The study was published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology.

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