Another Strike Against Teen Smoking

Smoking anxiety and depression in adolescent girls affects lifetime bone health

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) As a teenager, it’s hard to imagine that actions like smoking can have a lifetime effect. However, research is constantly showing that adolescence is an important period in women’s health.

A recent study looked at the impact of depression, anxiety, drinking alcohol and smoking during teenage years on a woman’s bone health.

The study showed that teen girls who smoke or are depressed form less bone density during years that are important for accumulation. This lower bone density can lead to a risk of osteoporosis later in life.

"Talk to your teenager about health risks from smoking"

Lorah D. Dorn, PhD, of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and colleagues studied 262 healthy girls between the age of 11 and 19. The girls were given three yearly visits. During the visits, bone mineral content and density were measured. The girls self reported whether they had depression or anxiety, drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes.

The results showed that frequent smoking was associated with lower rates of lumbar spine and hip bone mineral density.

Symptoms of depression were also associated with lower lumbar spine bone mineral density. Depressed girls continued to accrue bone material, just at a lower rate than girls who were not depressed.

Alcohol use was not shown to impact bone health.

Past studies have shown that nearly 50 percent of lifetime bone is accrued during the adolescent years. On average, the amount of bone accrued in the two years surrounding a woman’s first menstrual period is equal to the amount of bone lost in the last forty years of life.

Doctors can use the results of this study to form a strategy for preventing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that mainly affects older women in which bones become brittle from lack of mineral density and break.

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study received financial support from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Center for Research Resources and The Bureau of Health Professionals. The authors do not report any conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
December 3, 2012
Last Updated:
December 5, 2012