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Exercise Ups Kids' Quit-Smoking Success Rate
Date:9/19/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A program that combines counseling with physical activity may offer teens a more effective way to stop smoking.

Less than 5 percent of those who were assigned to a brief smoking cessation intervention had quit smoking after three months. But, in the group of teens that received smoking cessation counseling coupled with physical activity, almost 14 percent were off cigarettes at the three-month mark.

And, the findings were most dramatic for boys. Nearly a quarter of the boys in the combination group had quit smoking at the end of three months.

"Oftentimes people believe that kids aren't interested in quitting and that they won't take part in an intervention. This study offers a strong case that it is possible to effectively intervene with teen smokers," said study author Kimberly Horn, a professor in the department of community medicine at West Virginia School of Medicine in Morgantown.

"Physical activity, even in small or moderate doses, can greatly increase the odds of quitting. And, this type of approach attempts to change more than one behavior," explained Horn. "In West Virginia, we have tremendous health disparities around obesity and tobacco use. If we can target and reduce those health risk behaviors simultaneously, the burden on the health care system could be reduced," she said.

The findings are to be published in the October issue of Pediatrics, and were released online on Sept. 19.

Slightly more than 17 percent of American teenagers are current smokers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen smokers are more likely to use alcohol and illegal drugs, according to the CDC. And, about one-third of teen smokers will continue to smoke and will die in later life from a smoking-related disease, reports the CDC.

Horn and her colleagues wrote that while there have been num
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