A new research confirms that teenagers whose parents smoke are more susceptible to pick their habit of smoking by themselves.
According to Dr. Stephen E. Gilman of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and his colleagues, the effect was particularly strong if young children were exposed to parent’s tobacco use, before their teen years. It is also found that in children of ex-smokers the risk of habit can go away if parents quit.
Even though there is increasing evidence that children of smokers are more susceptible to be smokers themselves, very less is known about whether one parent has a stronger effect than the other and whether the influence of parents on their children’s smoking behavior will remain same throughout the childhood and teenage.
Researchers investigated 559 boys and girls aged between 12 to 17 years and they also interviewed each parent of participated children.
In the study, among parents almost 62.4% had never smoked in their lives, where as 46% had met the criteria for nicotine dependence during their lifetime.
It has been estimated that 27.8% of teenagers are reported with smoking habit, with the prevalence of use increasing with age. 7.2% of 12 years old admitted that they had smoked, while 61.3% of 17 years old did.
Researchers found that each parent independently influenced the likelihood that a child would start smoking.
The longer a parent smoked, the greater an adolescent’s likelihood of starting smoking. A mother’s smoking affected sons and daughters’ risk equally, where as the father’s smoking had a stronger effect on boys than girls.
Ultimately, the study suggests that smoking cessation efforts for families and parents will not only reduce parent’s smoking habit and consequent risks, but possibly decreases the chances of smoking uptake in their subsequent generations.