Physical Activity Improves Smoking Cessation Significantly in Teens
Physical activity has many health benefits and can be an effective aid in smoking cessation in teens, especially boys, according to the study report released in Pediatrics.
Professor Kimberly Horn from West Virginia University had conducted a six-month tracking study between 2006 and 2009 on 233 West Virginia students from aged 16 to 19, all of whom smoked at least half a pack on weekdays, and a full pack on weekends with most beginning the habit around the age of 11.
The students were randomly assigned into three groups: “Not on Tobacco” (NOT), “NOT + Physical Activity Module (FIT)” or “Brief Intervention”(BI) only. NOT is a smoking cessation counselling programme involves counseling on healthy lifestyles, receiving support and managing stress for once a week in 10 weeks. The students in NOT + FIT group were offered with NOT sessions and an addition of a log book and a pedometer to record their daily steps as well as 5-minute encouragement each week.A brief intervention session was given to all students at the start of the study.
After a 3-month study, the 7-day quit rates with CO validation were 4.8% for BI group, 11% for NOT group and 14% for NOT+FIT group. Compared with the NOT and BI groups, the participants in the NOT + FIT group still maintained a higher likelihood of quitting after 6 months.
“Physical activity, even in small or moderate doses, can greatly increase the odds of quitting. The effect of adding exercise to the study may have greater success with teenage boys because boys are more physically active than girls at this age,” Professor Horn explained.
West Virginia has the worst teen smoking problem in the country, with statistics showing 29% of people under 18 smoke. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17% of American teenagers are current cigarette smokers. Teen smokers are also more likely to use alcohol and illegal drugs, according to the CDC and almost 30% of teen smokers will continue to smoke and will die in later life from a smoking-related disease.