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Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 May;17(5):539-45. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu171. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

The influence of physical activity on cigarette smoking among adolescents: evidence from Add Health.

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Analysis and Services Research Branch, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD;
Department of Economics, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH;
Department of Economics, Campbell School of Business, Berry College, Mount Berry, GA



This article explored the relationship between physical activity and smoking behavior among adolescents using rich longitudinal survey data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents.


Several endogeneity-corrected models were estimated to ascertain the effect of exercise on both the probability of being a smoker and the intensity of cigarette smoking.


The analysis indicated that 1 additional weekly occurrence of exercise led to a 0.3% decline in the probability of being a smoker and led to a 4.1% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked by a smoker during a month, a result that was robust to stratification by gender and race/ethnicity. Consistent with the national guidelines, frequencies of physical activity of at least 7 times per week appeared to exhibit the biggest benefits in terms of reduction in smoking for both genders and across races/ethnicities.


Reduction in health-damaging smoking behavior among adolescents could be an additional benefit of being physically active. This research documented a new pathway by which even moderate increases in physical activity could result in improved health outcomes by reducing smoking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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