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Girls Smoke to Control Weight Gain, Says Study

Nearly 2,800 10- to 17-year-old girls responded to questionnaires produced by researchers at St. George's Hospital Medical School in London and two hospitals in Ottawa, Canada. The researchers concluded from the girls' answers that "anxieties about body weight and shape regulation, the feeling of being too fat, and the fear of losing control of eating, may be important forces at work in sustaining cigarette smoking amongst teenage girls."

According to the study, girls who rated themselves as either "too fat" or "prone to overeating" were 30% more likely to smoke compared to the others. Young women who said they had lost more than 15 pounds since puberty were 70% more likely to smoke than girls with less severe weight fluctuations. Also, girls who admitted to bouts of bulimia were 80% more likely to smoke than girls without a history of eating disorders.

Media Resources: Reuters - August 4, 1998