Smoke and Mirrors

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Do you love your body? Do you feel like it betrays you sometimes? Are you healthy? Discover what your body does and why it feels that way. Find out what other girls are experiencing here.

Smoke and Mirrors

girl smoking  on a scale - Girl Zone

Are your weight loss plans going up in smoke?

By Shari Levine

Why DO girls smoke?
There are a lot of reasons why girls smoke, such as wanting to look older and more mature, rebelling against parents, peer pressure, and trying to be like their favorite celebrity who smokes.

When asked why they smoke, the most common answer given by teen girls is weight control. You may not believe me, but this is the truth: Smoking will not make you lose weight OR help you to control your weight!

How many kids light up for the first time EACH day?
Every day about 3,000 adolescents in the US try smoking for the first time. Smoking is becoming more and more popular among teenagers, especially girls. About one out of every three high school seniors smokes cigarettes. It seems like girls are more focused on weight than ever before, and they really want to believe that smoking will help with weight control.

What DOES Smoke and Mirrors mean?
The phrase smoke and mirrors means to trick or deceive.

WILL smoking help you to lose weight?   There are two ways to lose weight: cut the number of calories that you eat, and increase the number of calories that you burn by moving your body. There are two reasons why smoking cigarettes will not make you lose weight: they don't significantly reduce your appetite (so that you eat fewer calories), or increase your metabolism so that you burn more calories.

Even thought experts have proven that smoking does not make teenagers (or adults) lose weight, many still believe that it does. Here are two reasons:

Since some people gain weight when they quit smoking cigarettes, we assume that starting to smoke will make us lose weight. But, it doesn't work that way!

Some people lose weight when they start smoking cigarettes. The two are not related because weight loss only happen when you eat less and move more. Weight loss does not result from breathing smoke you're your lungs.

Does advertising sway GIRLS toward smoking?
Tobacco advertisers spend loads of money (about $6 billion) trying to convince us that smoking can improve our lives. They work very hard to convince young people to smoke because most people get hooked by age 18. Cigarette ads appeal to our insecurities, and link smoking to fun, friends, and beauty.

The cigarette advertisers know that girls are often insecure about their looks, and that they want to be thin. So, they feature very thin, beautiful models in all of their advertisements, sending us the message that smoking makes people skinny and beautiful. Also, many tobacco companies have created special, more feminine cigarettes for women called slims or thins.

Do most girls start smoking AFTER they get their period?
In order to get your period, you must have at least 17% body fat. Most girls gain about 20 pounds during puberty, and this happens in a short period of time (about a year or two). A lot of girls are surprised and worried about these body changes, even though they are normal and necessary for healthy development.

Teenage girls often get their first period, try their first diet, and smoke their first cigarette all in one year.

To take care of your body inside and out, don't be fooled -- Steer clear of cigarettes altogether. If you smoke, quit now. For help click here.