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Teen Smokers Also Struggle With Body Image Related Guilt and Shame

A new research shows, that 25% of teens smokers, down dramatically from 40 percent in 1987. As we all know smoking is injurious to health but for today’s young generation does that really matters? lets find out how teen smokers are having a negative self image.

A recent study conducted at Concordia University and published in preventive Medicine Reports, has found that those who pick up the habit doing so because they have a negative self image.

The research was based on survey results from 1,017 young people — smokers and non-smokers, mostly aged 16 or 17 — whose level of physical activity was compared to current Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and Canadian Sedentary Behavior Guidelines.

Those who exercised regularly and never touched cigarette, were among those whose levels of body-related guilt and shame were lowest.

Smokers who were active and met the guideline reported higher levels of body-related guilt. Reportedly, the unhealthiest group – non-active smokers- have higher levels of body-related shame.

“Guilt and shame are two distinct entities,” says Erin O’Loughlin, a researcher with Concordia’s Independent Program (INDI).

“Shame is tied to self-perception and self-esteem, and reflects a negative evaluation of the self. Guilt has more to do with your actions and reflects a negative evaluation of a specific behavior — in this case, smoking. Guilt may elicit reparative action such as being physically active, and it may be what is driving young smokers to get moving.”

Especially in males the compulsion to exercise exhibited by the smoking test subjects tended to be tied to a desire to bulk up.

According to new research findings, a higher percentage of the active smokers were male, it reflects a trend among young male as they desire more muscular physique and they are trying to gain more weight.

“The irony is that the smoking might actually hinder muscle gain,” says O’Loughlin. “Evidence has shown that smoking leads to more visceral fat in the stomach area.”

Teenage girls often fail to recognize that for regular quick walk can reduce cigarette cravings and will help them attain a healthy wight at the same time. But they see tobacco as an appetite suppressant.

However, the proportion of teenage smokers has declined in the past few decades.

“One promising route to smoking prevention and cessation may be through an increase in physical activity, and that public health practitioners should continue to encourage all young people to exercise more often,” said O’Loughlin.

She also added that, “Both the active smokers and active non-smokers in the study did about the same amount of physical activity — so teenagers shouldn’t be discouraged from exercise just because they happen to smoke. If they discover that it helps them reduce cigarette cravings, they are on the right track.”

However, knowing all the disadvantage of smoking, the current trend just to look hot and they feel it be ‘cool look’ teenagers smoke. The drop of 25% teen smokers is however leveled off in recent years.

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