Children whose parents smoke are 4 times as likely to take up smoking themselves – GOV.UK

Children whose parents smoke are 4 times as likely to take up smoking themselves – GOV.UK

  • Experts warn that teenagers whose parents smoke are likely to copy them in adulthood
  • New film features health experts discussing how adult smokers can act as role models
  • NHS support offered to smokers – in particular parents, carers and other adults – to encourage them to quit in the new year

Top medical experts have warned that teens whose parents or caregivers smoked are 4 times as likely to take up smoking.

Analysis has also shown that early teens whose main caregiver smoked were more than twice as likely to have tried cigarettes (26% versus 11% ) and 4 times as likely to be a regular smoker (4.9% versus 1.2%).

A new government Better Health Smoke Free campaign has launched as leading family doctors warn of the issues facing the children of smokers. The campaign calls on people to help prevent this by quitting in January.

In a new film released today, NHS and behavioural health experts discuss the link between adult smoking and the likelihood of children in their household becoming smokers. Those calling on parents to give up smoking in the new year to set a good example to their children include:

  • family GP Dr Nighat Arif
  • child psychologist Dr Bettina Hohnen
  • smoking cessation experts Professor Nick Hopkinson and Dr Anthony Laverty of Imperial College London

Maggie Throup MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, explained why the campaign is launching now:

We know that many people make a quit attempt in January, and while there are so many good reasons to stop smoking for yourself, we hope that this new campaign – by highlighting the inter-generational smoking link with parents influencing their children – will be the added motivation many need to ditch the cigarettes for good this year.

With so much help and support available for parents, carers and anyone looking to quit – including the NHS Quit Smoking app, support on Facebook, daily emails and texts, and an online Personal Quit Plan – you will not be alone in your new year’s resolution.

Recent research from NatCen Social Research has also shown children aged 10 to15 were more likely to smoke if either their mother or father currently smoked. Children were also more likely to smoke if either parent had smoked in the past, even if they were not a current smoker.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer and joint lead for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparity, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy said:

Smoking is terrible for your health but it also has a negative impact on people around you.

Most people know the dangers of second-hand smoke but we should not overlook the impact that parents have as role models. Every parent wants what is best for their child and will not want them to become smokers. By stopping smoking now, parents can help break the pattern of smoking in their family across the generations, protect their children and improve their own health.

The film forms part of the Better Health Smoke Free campaign from the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in the Department …….


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