With fewer teens taking up smoking, individuals who do smoke daily are reporting more health complaints than in recent years, according to new research.
“Teens who smoke report significantly higher levels of health complaints than nonsmoking teens, and we found that this gap has widened over the years, even as the overall prevalence of teen smoking has dropped,” said Marc Braverman a professor, lead author and Extension specialist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, who worked with collaborators in Norway.
“Some adolescents smoke as an attempt to cope with their health problems, and that subgroup may represent a growing proportion of teen smokers, as fewer teenagers are taking up smoking for social reasons.”
The researchers believe it is the first time that this shifting relationship between daily smoking and health complaints in adolescence has been reported. The results were published recently in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
Smoking is on the decline among adults and adolescents in most places around the world, which is very welcome news, said Braverman, whose research expertise includes smoking prevention and tobacco control policy.
But as smoking rates decline, reducing them further becomes more challenging. Some tobacco researchers believe that the remaining smokers tend to be more “hard-core” smokers, who have been smoking for long periods and either do not wish to quit or believe they would not be successful if they tried, he said.