February 10, 2012

Playing Sports Increases Youth’s Chances of Smoking?

(Ivanhoe Newswire)-- A new study shows how much of an influence teammates have over one another´s decisions when it comes to smoking.

Researchers created a study that consisted of 1260 ethnically diverse, middle-class sixth through eighth grade students.

The students were questioned about their personal smoking behaviors, friends at school, and sports activities they participated in. By using a social method the researchers developed, they examined how an adolescent´s participation in sports with teammates who smoked affected each other´s smoking behaviors.

They found that the more exposure a non-smoking teammate had with a smoking teammate, the more likely the non-smoker was to smoke. They also found that girls would be more likely to smoke then boys. Furthermore, those who participated in more sports were less likely to smoke then those who participated in fewer.

"This result suggests that peers on athletic teams influence the smoking behavior of others even though there might be a protective effect overall of increased participation in athletics on smoking," Kayo Fujimoto, assistant professor of health promotion and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, was quoted as saying.

The study has suggestions for programs targeted at preventing teens from smoking. "Current guidelines recommend the use of peer leaders selected within the class to implement such programs," Fujimoto was quoted as saying. "The findings of this study suggest that peer-led interactive programs should be expanded to include sports teams as well."

SOURCE: Child Development, February 8, 2012