BOSTON (AP) — Smok…

BOSTON (AP) — Smoking even a few cigarettes a day appears to stunt the growth of teenagers’ lungs, a Harvard University study has found.
Previous research has shown that youngsters who smoke are more likely to have coughs, asthma and bronchitis.
Now, experts have found that teen-age smoking actually seems to make boys’ and girls’ lungs grow more slowly than usual, so they hold less air.
“It was surprising that we could determine an effect of smoking on lung growth so early in the process,” said Dr. Diane R. Gold. “Some would say that it takes many years to see an effect.”
Gold and colleagues from Harvard’s School of Public Health based their findings on 5,158 boys and 4,902 girls between ages 10 and 18 — a third of whom had ever smoked — who were examined annually between 1974 and 1989. The results were published in today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study found that smoking just five cigarettes a day appeared to reduce lung volume slightly, especially for girls.
The study found that girls who smoked five or more cigarettes a day had a 1 percent slower than usual growth each year of their forced expiratory volume. This is the amount of air that can be blown out of the lungs in one second, and it is an important measure of lung health.
Among boys, smoking slowed lung growth by 2/10 of 1 percent annually.