The diet and body weight of British teenage smokers at 16-17 years

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995 Dec;49(12):904-14.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Weight*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom