Does Smoking Affect Your Height Growth?

We all know that smoking is dangerous whatever the age is. It harms almost every organ of our body, leading to many health risks, like tooth decay, lung cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, and emphysema. If these issues are not enough, smoking is known to be related to stunted growth in children and teens. Do you want to find out more? Keep scrolling!

Does smoking affect your height growth?

Although the answer is yes, is there any scientific evidence proving that smoking regularly can stunt growth?

A number of studies have examined young people over decades to discover whether the habit of smoking has influenced their height. Meanwhile, other studies have concentrated on the effects of smoking in pregnancy and how it might lower the possible adult height of a child.

A study, which was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and carried out by the University of Montreal in the early 2000s, showed that smoking stunted BMI and height in boys. Typically, boys between 12 and 17 who smoked more than 10 cigarettes every day were about an inch shorter than those who did not smoke.


How about girls in this study? Interestingly, they did not show any reduced height compared to their non-smoking peers. Researchers claim that this is because boys enter puberty later and so are more probably to get taller when they start smoking on a regular basis [1].

However, we found another study issued in the American Journal of Public Health. Girls who smoked 10 cigarettes or more per day are in danger of abdominal obesity. Basically, their waist sizes were about 1.34 inches larger than those who do not smoke [2].

Is there any severe effect?

While girls might not see a decline in their height via smoking on a regular basis, but their lung capacity can be affected by this habit.

Girls who smoked up to 5 cigarettes per day had a 1% slower than common growth each year of their forced expiratory volume. Forced expiratory volume is known as the amount of air that can be blown out of the lungs per second. It is a crucial measure of lung health and can be used to calculate the overall condition of the lungs. Although the lung capacity of boys who participated in this study did not seem to be affected, smoking still reduced their lung growth by 2/10 of 1% annually [3].

How does smoking stunt your growth?

In a study published in 2008, smoking negatively affects endochondral ossification during skeletal growth [4].

It is believed that nicotine is one of the major chemicals in charge of this delayed growth. Yes, nicotine restricts or reduces growth by inhibiting a smoker’s appetite. It does this by stimulating a lane in the brain that hinders craving. That is why smokers cannot get the essential nutrients for developing their skeletal growth and muscle strength.

Also, other chemicals found in cigarettes contribute to stunted growth in smokers and the children of smokers.

How about passive smoking? Does it affect your height?

Smoking does not only stunt your growth but also affects the growth of other people surrounding you.

Kids, whose mothers smoked up to 10 cigarettes per day, on average, were 0.25 inches shorter than kids of non-smokers. The study also pointed out that kids, whose mothers smoked between 1 and 9 cigarettes a day, were 0.17 inches shorter. Meanwhile, paternal smoking did not give any direct influence on a kid’s height. This shows that the decline in height found in kids of smoking mothers is the result of smoking during pregnancy and infancy [5].


How to help your children stop smoking?

Quitting or stopping smoking is, of course, a good way, yet it is not easy. As parents, you are a powerful influence, even when your children seem to disagree with everything you say. Below are some effective ways you can prevent them from smoking.

Have a conversation

Start as soon as possible. Talk with your kids about smoking in kindergarten. Be free and honest to see things from their viewpoint. And try to maintain this dialogue as they get older.

Explain carefully

E-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and hookah are all dangerous. Also, talk to them about the pressure they should say if their friends offer a cigarette. It might be as simple as saying, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.”

Do a math

Smoking is costly. Help your children calculate the cost of smoking for every week, month, and year. Compare it with that of clothes, electronic gadgets, or their essentials.

Become a good example

If you smoke, the best thing you should do is quit. Or at a minimum, do not smoke around your children.

Predict the future

Your children tend to reckon that bad things only occur to other people. Point out the possible long-term results of smoking, like stroke, heart attack, and cancer. Or mention relatives, friends, neighbors, or celebrities who have been ill as real-life examples. 


Set a smoke-free environment

Do not allow family members or friends to smoke in your home or car. Make sure the places your children mostly spend are tobacco-free.

Create a healthy lifestyle

Try to encourage your children to join in physical activities. Because exercising helps the body release endorphins, which can better mood and reduce stress. Make sure they get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, even if it is just a short walk after lunch and dinner or some yoga at home.

Staying hydrated allows the body to get rid of nicotine and other toxins. It also lowers certain withdrawal symptoms like constipation and headaches. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water and juices a day and avoid alcohol or sugary drinks, which might increase the cravings for cigarettes.

Set a healthy diet with more vegetables and fruits, milk and dairy, sugar-free gums and mints, and Ginseng tea to help kick the habit of smoking. And ensure your children take a proper rest to relax and relieve stress.

Or consult PHS Guideline Recommendation for ways to help adolescents quit smoking. Click here for further information!

To sum up,

Smoking is not recommended, especially for young kids and teens because their bodies and brains are still developing. Starting smoking at a young age increases the danger of negative long-term health issues mentioned above as well as overall development. As parents, try your best to help your children stay away from smoking so that they can grow strong and healthy.

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