Purpose: To study the effect of cigarette use on height and adiposity in adolescents.
Methods: Data on cigarette use were collected every 3 months for 5 years from adolescents initially 12-13 years of age. Height, weight, and triceps skinfold thickness were measured in survey cycles 1, 12, and 19. Multivariate linear regression models were fitted to estimate the association between cigarette use and the anthropometric measures in a dataset that pooled data over two time periods, from survey cycles 1-12 and from survey cycles 12-19.
Results: Data were available for 451 boys and 478 girls. Seven percent of boys and 14% of girls smoked > or =30 cigarettes per month on average during the first time period; 9% of boys and 18% of girls smoked > or =30 cigarettes per month on average during the second time period. In boys, a 100-cigarette per month increment in cigarette use over the preceding 2.5 years was independently associated with lower body mass index (-0.4 kg/m(2)) and shorter height (-0.7 cm). In girls, cigarette use was not associated with height or adiposity.
Conclusions: While there was no relation in girls, cigarette use appears to decrease body mass index and height in boys. Young girls may be less likely to take up cigarette smoking if tobacco control messages emphasize that cigarette use may not be associated with reduced weight in adolescent females.