Cigarettes stunt boys' growth and don't help girls lose weight, according to a major Canadian
Researchers tracked 1250 youngsters from age 12 to 17, regularly comparing the smokers to the non-smokers every three months.
The research, published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology
, concluded that girls who smoke do not end up skinnier than girls who did not smoke but, in fact, have a similar height and body mass index (BMI).
Among boys, smokers appeared to be shorter by an average of 2.54 centimetres compared to those teenage boys who did not smoke.
Australia has welcomed the outcome of the research.
Quit executive director Fiona Sharkie said the findings were significant given many young women cite weight loss or weight control as a reason for smoking.
''Teenage girls who are unhappy about their weight often take up smoking because they think it will make them thinner,'' Ms Sharkie said.
''However, this study shows smoking has no impact on weight loss or weight control for young women.''
She said dismantling the ''thin'' myth was enormously important as it might discourage teenage girls from taking up the habit in the first place.
Ms Sharkie also said that many teenage boys would be alarmed to learn that smoking does indeed stunt their growth.
''Sometimes we forget that boys are just as concerned about their body image. But I think these findings send a message to teenagers of both sexes that smoking has no physical benefits,'' she said.
Australia's smoking rate has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years. One in six Australians aged 14 years or over smoke tobacco daily now compared with seven in 10 men and three in 10 women in the 1950s.
Half of long-term smokers die of a smoking-caused disease, with the majority having started smoking in adolescence.