Researchers looked at 233 teens at 19 high schools in West Virginia, which
has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation. Nearly 13% of people under
age 18 in the state are smokers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control
All the teens in the study were daily smokers who smoked an average of half a
pack a day on weekdays and a pack a day on weekends. They also had other
"It is not unusual for teenage smokers to engage in other unhealthy habits.
Smoking and physical inactivity, for instance, often go hand in hand," study
lead author Kimberly Horn, associate dean for research at the George Washington
University School of Public Health and Health Services, in Washington, DC, said.
The teens in the study were divided into three groups: one group took part in
a smoking cessation program combined with a fitness program, another group took
part in the smoking cessation program only and the third group heard only a
short anti-smoking lecture.
All of the teens increased their amount of daily physical activity just by
being in the study. Those who increased the number of days in which they did at
least 20 minutes of exercise - equivalent to a short walk - significantly
reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked.
Teens were more likely to quit smoking if they took part in the combination
smoking cessation and fitness program and increased the number of days in which
they did at least 30 minutes of exercise, according to the study.
"This study adds to evidence suggesting that exercise can help teenagers who
are trying to quit smoking," Horn said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about youth