Student Well-Being

Health Update

November 01, 2000 3 min read

Study Finds Depressing Results About Smoking

It’s well known that smoking cigarettes can damage a teenager’s lungs and cause other physical ailments later in life. But it can also have a negative effect on a child’s mental health, according to a study published in last month’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.

For More Information

Read the abstract of the study, “Depressive Symptoms and Cigarette Smoking Among Teens,”Pediatrics, October 2000.

The study, conducted by researchers at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., found that teenagers who smoked were much more likely to become depressed than their nonsmoking peers. The conclusion contradicts a common belief that teenagers start smoking in order to cope better with their depressive moods.

For the first half of the two-part study, the researchers analyzed data collected from a federal database called the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to follow 8,704 teenagers for more than a year. At the outset of the study, none of the teenagers—all of whom were nonsmokers—reported having signs of depression, such as changes in their diet or sleep patterns or feeling of hopelessness.

Those who started smoking within 30 days were 21/2 times more likely to become depressed after a year than those who didn’t smoke at all during that period.

Surprisingly, the authors also conclude that being depressed doesn’t increase a teenager’s risk of becoming a smoker. In the second half of the study, researchers evaluated another group of 6,000 teenagers, all nonsmokers, some of whom were depressed. The study found that those who were depressed at the beginning of the survey period were no more likely to have begun lighting up a year later than were their happier peers.

Though the direct connection between depression and cigarette smoking is still uncertain, the authors of the report suggest that nicotine can alter brain chemistry, particularly affecting the brain center that influences mood.

“Smoking does something chemically to the same system that processes depression in the brain,” said John Capitman, a professor of health policy at Brandeis University and a co-author of the study.

That theory is supported, he said, by the fact that antidepressants can help adults quit smoking.


Asthma Rates

Black children are far more likely than white children to have asthma problems during childhood, according to a study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows a growing gap between racial groups afflicted with the condition.

In 1998, African-American children were 31 percent more likely than white children to have had asthma or an asthma attack in the previous year. The disparity has grown since 1980, when black children had a 15 percent higher rate of asthma than their white counterparts.

For More Information

Read the report, “Measuring Childhood Asthma Prevalence Before and After the 1997 Redesign of the National Health Interview Survey,”Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, Oct. 13, 2000.

Overall, asthma rates among all children climbed 5 percent between 1980 and 1995, when 62 out of every 1,000 children reported a bout of asthma in the previous year. But the overall rate dipped in the late 1990s. In 1998, 53 out of every 1,000 children reported suffering from an asthma attack.

Asthma, a lung condition characterized by labored breathing, is the leading chronic health problem among children in the United States and the No. 1 cause of school absences.

To conduct the study, published in the Oct. 13 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers at the Atlanta-based CDC’s office of epidemiology and health promotion reviewed statistics collected from 1990 to 1998 by the federal National Health Interview Survey. The survey included responses from parents of 4,500 children under 18.

The CDC researchers did not speculate about the cause of the growing racial disparity. But earlier studies have shown that asthma rates are particularly high in areas with air pollution and crowded conditions, where many members of minority groups tend to live.

—Jessica Portner

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Quiz
Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Using The American Rescue Plan Act to Support Hybrid-Learning?
Quiz Yourself: How well do you know the American Rescue Plan?
Content provided by ConexED Logo
Student Well-Being Opinion Why Venting When You Have Problems Feels Good—and Why It Doesn’t Work
When you keep talking about what’s bothering you, it keeps the negative emotions alive. Here’s what research says to do instead.
Ethan Kross
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Student Well-Being What the Research Says How Does Sending a Child to School Change a Family's Risk of COVID-19?
In-person schooling that doesn't lead to outbreaks can still raise the risk of kids bringing the virus home, especially in poor families.
3 min read
On Sept. 24, 2020, distance learners are seen on a laptop held by teacher Kristen Giuliano who assists student Jane Wood, 11, in a seventh-grade social studies class at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn. A new study finds a family's risk of infection rose if they had a school-age student when schools re-started in person instruction.
Students, assisted by their teacher Kristen Giuliano, work remotely and in-person in a hybrid classroom earlier this year at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn.
Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP
Student Well-Being Teens Are Starting to Get Vaccinated. That's a Big Deal for Schools
Educators are now encouraging their oldest students to get the vaccine, with the hope that it will help normalize school operations.
10 min read
17-year-old cancer survivor Jordan Loughan receives a Pfizer vaccination at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
Seventeen-year-old cancer survivor Jordan Loughan receives a Pfizer vaccination for COVID-19 in Atlanta on March 23.
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP