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Do Young Women Smoke for the Wrong Reasons?

By April 24, 2009 - 9:13pm
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It appears the answer is a big YES! Did you know that one in five women between the ages of 18 and 24 are smokers, and most say they keep lighting up for fear of gaining weight. But researchers at Temple University have found that when it comes to quitting, a little bit of dialogue and support can be more effective than an exercise plan in helping women not only keep off the weight, but also stay smoke-free.

In a two-phased study, the led researcher, Dr. Napolitano and a team of researchers looked at the smoking habits and weight gain of women aged 18-24. The first phase collected data from focus groups who stated that stress, peer pressure and weight management were the main reasons why they smoked. Participants also felt that group-based programs that provide ongoing social support would be instrumental in helping them quit.

Those results laid the groundwork for the project's next phase, named "Fit to Quit", a small pilot study of 24 women who were randomly assigned to either a supervised group exercise program or body image group counseling sessions. All women were provided with a nicotine patch as well. After eight weeks, the body image counseling group showed a rate of smoking cessation that was more than double that of the exercise group (18 percent vs. 8 percent). In addition, the body image group lost more than three times the weight of their exercise counterparts (3.3 pounds vs. less than a pound). These findings were presented this week at the Society for Behavioral Medicine's annual meeting.

If you are a woman in the study age range, let us know if you agree with the study finding. Do you smoke? Why?

For more information on this study: http://www.temple.edu/

Source: Science Daily

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I'm a non smoker but I know more then 20% of women smoke, more like 50% at least. That's all I'm going to say. This proves most statistics are false.

April 7, 2011 - 7:05pm

Alison, interesting question, have you ask a young woman that question lately? They have their own version of the "right" reason, if they thought smoking was driven by a wrong reason, then why would they smoke at all? It is all about perspective and interpretation. It is the non-smokers who use the qualifier "wrong" to refer to the habit of smoking, but in this case it was the scientists who use the word.

May 4, 2009 - 11:11pm

Is there such a thing as young women smoking for the RIGHT reasons?!

April 26, 2009 - 1:16pm
HERWriter Guide

Melissa - I know you are in the process of trying to quit those demon cigarettes!

How is it going for you? Are you still taking the medication that helps with smoking cessation?

April 25, 2009 - 10:38am
EmpowHER Guest

My smoking started earlier than this age group. I was approximately 9 years old when I started out of pure boredom. My best friend and I started since both of our parents smoked and they were easily assessable.

I do remember when but my Grandmother was still alive, her physician told her to stay smoking to stay thin though. In hindsight, I don't think that was a good prescription. She did not pass away from effects of smoking but with as many toxins that are put into the body due to smoking, one would think that it is not a good idea.

I deal with toxic exposures at work and there is a great occupational exposure website that details the toxic substances that are found in cigarettes. You can see the list here http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/hazmap_generic?tbl=TblActivities&id=23. Looking at this list, there is no reason anyone should smoke.

The health risks associated with cigarette smoking is far greater than the risk of being overweight. Being in the position of trying to quit smoking, I will risk the weight gain for healthier lungs.

April 25, 2009 - 8:48am
HERWriter Guide

Hi Virginia

I don't smoke now (thank God!!) but I was a long time smoker for nearly 20 years. I couldn't have imagined my life without cigarettes!

Cigarette companies targeting women by implying that smoking would keep them thin. One logo, used many years ago, said "Reach for a Lucky, instead of a sweet", implying that the Lucky brand of cigarette will keep a woman slim.

Using the words 'slim' and 'thins' like Virginia Slims and many of the other brands that include 'thins' in their names also lend women to believe that cigarettes will make or keep you thin. And often with a glamorous, thin woman on the advertisements, with sayings like "it's a woman thing!".

Sad to say that these marketing techniques work. Many young women would rather risk illness or serious disease than worry about gaining weight.

April 25, 2009 - 4:58am
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