Objective: To examine the influence of teenage smoking habits on nutrient intake, food choice and body size.
Design: Data was collected cross-sectionally: smoking habits were evaluated by questionnaire; heights and weights were measured and dietary intakes were quantitatively assessed via 4-day unweighed dietary diaries.
Subjects: The subjects studied (n = 3430) were participants in the 1970 Longitudinal Birth Cohort, and were nationally distributed throughout Britain.
Results: Male and female smokers consumed significantly (P < 0.005) more alcohol and less fibre, thiamin and vitamin C than occasional or never smokers. Male smokers also consumed significantly more fat when expressed as a percentage of energy intake, and significantly less non-milk extrinsic sugar (P < 0.01) and iron (P < 0.005) than occasional or never smokers. Regular and occasional female smokers consumed significantly (P < 0.005) less protein and calcium than never smokers, and regular smokers also reported lower intakes of zinc, selenium, riboflavin, carotene and folates (P < 0.005) and iodine (P < 0.01) than never or occasional smokers. Both male and female smokers were less likely to be consumers of puddings, biscuits and wholemeal bread, but were more likely (P < 0.005) to consume alcoholic beverages and coffee. Intakes of chips, alcoholic beverages and coffee were significantly (P < 0.005) higher among smokers and intakes of puddings, fruit, fruit juices and breakfast cereals lower. Regular female smokers also consumed significantly (P < 0.005) fewer vegetables. Smoking habit did not appear to be related to body size in this cohort.
Conclusion: The diets of teenage smokers, particularly teenage girls, appear to be significantly different to those of non-smokers, but smoking was not related to body size. Lower intakes of antioxidant nutrients, fruits, vegetables and cereals by teenage smokers are of particular concern.