Abused Children Smoke More As Teenagers And Adults


Long ago researchers suspected there exists a connection between children abuse and smoking.

A study by University of Washington was made in the field. The main aim of it was not to find the connection between abused children but to find out how many cigarettes these children do smoke.

Todd Herrenkohl, a professor in the UW School of Social Work, said that people have a predisposition to smoking if they were abused in their childhood and have a history of smoking.

The results of the study were published in Journal of Adolescent Health.

Herrenkohl with his collegues used the Lehigh Longitudinal Study, which began in 1970s. In the study participated children who were engaged in child welfare abuse and protective service programs,  private nursery programs, day care programs and Head Start classrooms in Eastern Pennsylvania. Researchers from University of Washington looked for a connection between physical or sexual abuse and teenage and adult smoking.

Thus they discovered that boys who were abused and were smokers, smoked more than boys who had not been abused as a child. Among girls who smoked, only those who had been sexually abused smoked more as teenagers. As a result, they smoked more in adult age, especially women.

Allison Kristman-Valente, a doctoral candidate in social work who participated in the research said that a new study is required to find the difference between boys and girls. There may be other factors at work that my be found. This will encourage other scientists to look at gender differences in smoking among teenagers and adults.

In the Lehigh study, was found that more than 50% of the participants smoked in their teenage. 57% percent of men and 44% of women said thay smoked in adolescence. However, researchers cannot say why the rate of smoking was so high in this study. When the participants of the study were evaluated as adults, 49% said are smokers.

The researchers are worried that many females who were abused as children were smoking while raising children and it was difficult for them to quit smoking.

Tobacco use often starts in teenage and large anti-tobacco campaigns can greatly help to prevent children from smoking in their early age.

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