Cigarette smoking status and recurrent subjective health complaints among US school-aged adolescents.
BACKGROUND: Subjective health complaints are common among adolescents. There is evidence that girls are more likely to register complaints than boys. This study examines gender differences in the relationship between daily smoking and recurrent subjective health complaints in school-aged adolescents in the USA.
METHODS: A cross-sectional design with a multistage probability sample was used to survey 13,339 middle and high school students (grades 6 through 10) with the US 2001-2002 Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Survey.
RESULTS: Recurrent subjective health complaints were higher for adolescents who smoke daily and experiment with cigarettes than for those who never smoke. In logistic regression analyses, the odds of daily smoking increased twofold for both boys and girls who report recurrent irritability/bad temper. For girls, the odds of daily smoking were higher among those who reported recurrent headache, stomachache and backache compared with never smokers. For boys only recurrent backache and feeling dizzy were associated with increased odds of daily smoking.
CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between recurrent subjective health complaints and daily smoking provides new insights into both conditions for school-aged adolescents. Findings from this study suggest different patterns of association between daily smoking and recurrent subjective health complaints occur for girls and boys. Further studies are needed to explore causes and treatment of daily smoking and recurrent health complaints among school-aged children.