Researchers from the University of Florida analyzed associations between dieting and smoking in order to determine whether the desire to lose weight plays a role in the decision to start smoking.
Teenage girls who start dieting were found to be twice as likely to start smoking regularly in comparison to teenage girls who are not dieting. On the other hand, teenage boys who tried dieting but didn't stick to it were at bigger risk of taking up smoking.

Data was provided from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health that investigated health-related behaviors among girls and boys from grades 7 to grades 12.

From around 7800 teenagers investigated in the study in the four years period, 55% of the girls were found to be dieters, among which 35 % were consistent dieters while less than 21% were overweight. More boys were found to be overweight but only about a quarter were dieters with 12% consistent dieters.

Teenage girls who began dieting during the study period were around 1.9 times more likely than non-dieters to begin smoking regularly. Boys who began but didn’t go through with dieting were 1.7 times more likely to initiate regular smoking compared with those who never dieted. Also, teenagers who were exposed to cigarettes at homes were at increased risk for initiating regular smoking.

In conclusion, dieting is not associated with trying smoking but with regular smoking in teenage girls.