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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Smoking cigarette helps to loose weight? Youth belief in 14 Brazilian Cities

Ana L. Mendonca, MPH, Leticia C. Costa, Elaine M. Fernandes, Valeska C. Figueiredo, MD, MPH, Liz M. Almeida, MD, PhD, and Tania Cavalcanti, MD, MPH. National Coordination for Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Rua dos Invalidos 212/3 andar, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Objective: Body weight concern is a considerable risk factor for smoking among youngsters. According to the literature, youth smoking initiation is frequently associated to the belief that smoking helps control weight. Although this belief has been generally associate to girls, use of tobacco as a form of weight control, have been reported by adolescents of both genders. This paper exams the beliefs of students regarding smoking and weight, in particular the relationship between smoking status and weight control.

Methods: A school-based survey with a representative sample of students in grades 7 and 8 and first year of high school from fourteen Brazilian cities was conducted as part of Global Youth Tobacco Survey. A total of 19,217 students from 339 public and private schools answered to a self-administered anonymous questionnaire. Sampling design and selection, and data consolidation was conducted by CDC. Prevalence estimates and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using EpiInfo 2002 software.

Results: The prevalence of youngsters that believed that cigarette smoking helps to loose weight exceeded 50% in all fourteen cities studied, reaching as high as 78.4%. Overall, no statistically differences were found when analyzing the data by gender or smoking status. However, higher estimates were found among girls and the non-smoking group in 13 of the 14 cities. This pattern of higher percentages of non-smokers adhering to this belief was kept for girls but not for boys. The high estimates found among non-smoking adolescents pose a concern due the vulnerability of this group to become smokers.