Unpopular Teens more likely to take up smoking cigarettes, Survey

Published on November 27th, 2012 00:00

Teenagers and minors pranked by their peers and considered to be “uncool outsiders” with lack of respect among classmates are two times more likely to take up smoking and keep the habit throughout their adult years, concludes the latest study completed in Sweden.

unpopular teens more likely to smoke

After carrying out a survey of around 15 000 people across Sweden, scientists from Stockholm Royal University divided them into groups, according to the number of nominations they received from their peers basing on their popularity. Upon that they isolated 2300 respondents who received no or few nominations by their peers and classmates, and characterized them as marginalized or being on periphery from the point of view of socialization, and concluded these teens were the least respected and accepted in their social environment.

Respondents were surveyed regarding their social status for the first time, when they were 13 years of age, and again two decades later. The second survey included a question about their smoking habit.

The scientists found that the more unpopular and marginalized respondents were in their adolescent years, the higher was the likeability that they took up smoking and become regular or even chain smokers in their adult years. Regular cigarette smoking was determined not more than 20 cigarettes daily, while chain smoking was defined as more than 20 cigarettes per day.

The results of the study were published in the November issue of the Addiction journal.

Scientists provide several different reasons for such a connection. Teenagers who were on periphery and grew up as outsiders could be more likely to take up controversial habits like cigarette use as a kind of resistance or revolt, according to the study.

In addition, unpopular teens could be also at a higher risk for taking up the tobacco habit due to low level of self-confidence or in a wrongful attempt to look cool in their peers’ eyes.

On the other hand, another research, carried out by the Toronto University and Montreal University School of Public Health, discovered that cigarette consumption virtually increased symptoms of depression in some teenagers. The study, published two years ago in the Addictive Behaviors journal, concluded that adolescents who consumed cigarettes trying to enhance their mood, were exposed to increased risk of elevated symptoms of depression in comparison with their peers who didn’t smoke.