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August 25, 1993

Adolescent Tobacco Use and Physical Activity

JAMA. 1993;270(8):938. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510080042020

To the Editor.  —Escobedo et al1 noted that present data indicate lower use of tobacco by high school athletes than among their noncompetitive peers. Many factors are postulated as responsible for this trend, including counseling from coaching staff about smoking and "perceptions about reduced sports performance because of smoking."Students and coaches see these as facts rather than perceptions. A recent conference presented by the Atlanta Coalition Against Tobacco (Athletics or Tobacco? November 13, 1992, Atlanta, Ga) brought forth many statements by students and athletes that attitudes of coaches are a significant factor in the avoidance of tobacco products by athletes. Many coaches make the use of tobacco a grounds for suspension, which obviously gets a very clear message across to the student athlete. Students are also quite aware of the effect of tobacco use on performance and that some activities such as competitive track competition are virtually incompatible