Adolescent boys who smoke are 80 percent more likely to stop the habit than girls, according to a new Canadian study published in a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Girls are more concerned about their weight, a factor that may strongly influence their decision not to quit, says Marie-Pierre Sylvestre, assistant professor at the Université de Montréal’s School of Public Health, in Quebec, and co-author of the study.
“We see in our data that girls do worry about their weight much more than boys. Also, we see that boys are more likely to participate in team sports over a longer period,” she says.
Professor Sylvestre and her colleagues want to use these findings to create gender-specific interventions.
“We’re thinking about creating an application … that could be a very helpful tool for counselors and doctors to figure out who is more likely to require intervention to help them quit smoking,” says the researcher.
“Parents who smoke should understand the effects of smoking on their children.” — Marie-Pierre Sylvestre, assistant professor at the Université de Montréal’s School of Public Health
The study also revealed that cigarette package warnings, older age and participation in team sports help young people to stop smoking. Other factors, however, make quitting more difficult, such as craving for cigarettes, illicit drug use, being overweight and family stress.
“Families should work together, or with professionals, to identify and reduce the sources of family stress,” says professor Sylvestre. “Parents who smoke should understand the effects of smoking on their children. We need to remember that parents can be excellent role models for their children,” she says, adding that parents should engage their children in sports and other healthy activities.
The study examined more than 12,000 teenagers between 12 and 13 years of age from 10 secondary schools in Montreal who smoked at least occasionally.
Marie-Pierre Sylvestre, assistant professor at the Université de Montréal’s School of Public Health, talks to RCI’s Gilda Salomone about factors that help young smokers to stop smoking.Listen
Some facts on teen smoking in Canada
- Each day, between 82,000 and 99,000 young people around the world start smoking.
- Smoking rates for youth climbed in the early 1990s, but have been slowly declining.
- Almost 20 per cent of Canadian teens (aged 12-19) currently smoke (daily or occasionally).
- In Canada, the smoking rates are generally higher among males than females.
- On average, males smoke more cigarettes a day than females.
- Youth smokers make more attempts to quit smoking than adult smokers.
Source: Canadian Lung Association
Predictors of Smoking Discontinuation in Novice Adolescent Smokers – American Association for Cancer Research