Updated 04 June 2014

Teen boys more likely to quit smoking than girls

Family stress and weight concerns are big factors in the uprise of teen smoking.


Teen boys who recently started smoking are more likely to quit than teen girls. However, both boys and girls who are frightened by cigarette warning labels or play team sports are both more likely to quit, new research shows.

The study included 620 boys and girls in Montreal, aged 12 and 13, who had recently started smoking at least occasionally. Just over 40 percent of the teens said their parents smoked, nearly 90 percent had friends who smoked and about 80 percent said they often saw their teachers or other school staff smoking.

Over the five-year study period, 40 percent of the teens quit smoking. Boys were 80 percent more likely to quit than girls, and older teens were 30 percent more likely to quit than younger ones, the investigators found.

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Teens who said cigarette warning labels scared them were 44 percent more likely to quit, and those who played team sports were 40 percent more likely to quit, according to the study released June 3 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Factors that reduced the likelihood that teens would quit smoking included family stress, weight concerns, being overweight, illicit drug use and cravings for cigarettes, the study authors noted.

"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," Jennifer O'Loughlin, a professor in the department of social and preventive medicine at the University of Montreal, said in a journal news release.

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"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," she advised.

"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," O'Loughlin noted in the news release.

Read more: 

An alternative to smoking?
2013 Smoking Survey: The dangers of passive smoking
Top 5 smoking myths

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