Increased exercise helps kids, especially boys, quit smoking

A study published today in, conducted by the Department of Community Medicine at the West Virginia School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia, has shown that when underage smokers are encouraged to increase their physical activity, their chances of quitting smoking also increases According to the, cigarette smoking actually occurs more among highschoolers than among adults, because they are susceptible to tobacco advertisements, movies, and peer pressure In a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking in high school Quitting the habit is difficult: three out of four high school smokers fail quitting at least once Teen smokers who keep the habit raise their risk for cardiovascular diseases, gum and tooth diseases, chronic lung diseases like emphysema, as well as vision and hearing problems In the study headed by Kimberly Horn, EdD, the 233 West Virginian students from 19 different high schools who agreed to participate were divided randomly into three programs: brief intervention (BI), Not on Tobacco (N-O-T)–a teen cessation program developed and proven to be effective outside the study–or N-O-T plus encouragement to increase physical activity (N-O-T+FIT) The BI program lasted less than three hours and focused on exercise The N-O-T program was a cumulative eight hours, focusing on the dangers of teen smoking, nicotine addiction, and information from the National Institutes of Health The modified N-O-T+FIT program included an additional four hours, promoting physical activity via encouragement, a pedometer, and a log book to keep track of exercise hours Initially, 96 percent of the participants smoked daily For the study, if a person had stopped smoking for at least seven days, they have managed to “quit” The researchers recorded quitting rates after three months and again after six months Quitting rates for the BI program were 476 to 1333 percent, while N-O-T’s rates fell between 1111 percent and 1978 percent The quitting rates for N-O-T+FIT fell between 1375 percent and 3375 percent The results indicate that, after a six month evaluation period, participants in the N-O-T+FIT group had a higher chance of quitting the habit than those in N-O-T (both programs did better than simple BI) Boys especially responded positively to the N-O-T+FIT program According to , exercise is an effective aid because it provides the kids with a replacement activity, changes their routines, and makes them appreciate their health more