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Home / Staying Healthy / Exercise and Fitness / Exercise may help teens give up smoking: study

Exercise may help teens give up smoking: study

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A boost in daily physical exercise may help teenage smokers to finally given up smoking for good; says a recent study.

A boost in daily physical exercise may help teenage smokers to finally given up smoking for good; says a recent study.

It has been found by previous research on adults, that smokers trying to flip the cigarette find relief from withdrawal symptoms when they formulate a daily exercising regime. Based on the same findings a study was carried out to analyze the effects of adding exercising advice to smoking cessation programs focused especially on teenagers.

The study, which was conducted in West Virginia and has been reported in the journal, Pediatrics; worked in collaboration with the American Lung Association’s quit program – ‘Not On Tobacco’ (NOT). This program runs across all public schools of U.S and has been especially designed for high school teens to help them quit smoking. It has been found to have an average quit rate of 21 percent.

Teenage Smoking Facts and Trivia: Parents can influence even their stubborn teens to quit smoking by educating them on smoking facts: It is a fact that smoking teens are prone to illness more as compared to those who do not. Teens who smoke have weaker hearts and smaller lungs as compared to teenagers who do not smoke. Teenagers who smoke are more likely to move to drugs and alcohol too. Over 4.5 million teens in U.S are smokers. Adolescents who start smoking early are more prone to long term nicotine addictions than those who start smoking in adult hood.

West Virginia has very high rates of smoking and very low rates of exercising. It is for this reason that lead researcher Kimberly Horn, of the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown and his team chose the place for their study.

The researchers selected 19 schools for their survey. The schools were offered 3 different types of programs on random. The first one was the standard smoking cessation program of NOT. Second was a standard cessation program combined with exercise advis; and third was a brief exercise advise session on one of the days of the standard program, with a program facilitator.

There were 233 student participants, from all the 19 schools who took part in one of the three programs. The 10 weekly NOT sessions help teens find out ways to quit smoking and stay away from the habit for good.

In the programs offering exercise advice, the facilitators of the session advised the teenagers on inculcating exercise in their daily routine and kept track of their daily activity levels with the help of a pedometer.

After six months it was found that the exercise plus NOT session group of students had the maximum quit rate at 31 percent; as compared to 21 percent in the standard program and just 16 percent in the brief-intervention group.

The study also found that adding exercise to their routine helped teenage boys more in comparison to girls. While 37 percent boys quit smoking by the end of six months; only 18 percent girls managed to give up smoking.

The researchers could not assign any reason to this finding. It was assumed that while teenage girls are less prone to exercise teenage boys like to indulge in exercising. Also, exercise diverts the mind from cravings, thus helping with the withdrawal symptoms.

The study also did not measure exactly the level of exercising involved. However, researchers are optimistic that students who have benefited from exercising will continue with their efforts.

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