Purpose: To describe gender and racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of cigarette smoking for weight loss or control in an adolescent population-based sample, and relationships among heavy smoking, weight concerns and smoking to lose or control weight.
Methods: Anonymous questionnaires were administered to 81,247 9th and 12th grade public school students across the state of Minnesota in 1998. Variables of interest included smoking frequency, weight concerns, and smoking for weight loss or control. Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the odds of smoking to lose or control weight by race/ethnicity and gender, and to evaluate the relationships between smoking to lose or control weight and heavy smoking, perceptions of overweight, and weight concerns by race/ethnicity and gender.
Results: With the exception of black females, female smokers of different racial/ethnic groups were as likely as white girls to smoke for weight loss or control. Compared to white male smokers, American Indian and Asian American male smokers were more likely to smoke for weight loss or control, and black, Hispanic, and mixed race male smokers were equally likely to smoke for weight loss or control. Heavy smokers, smokers who perceived themselves as overweight or were weight-concerned were significantly more likely to report smoking as a weight control method.
Conclusions: Smoking for weight control is prevalent across many race/ethnic groups and both genders among adolescents.