One of the best things you as a parent can do for your children is to stop smoking. A recent 9 year long study completed at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, Seattle by Jonathan B. Bricker and his colleagues have shown that if parents stop smoking by the time their children are 8 years old, the children are 39% less likely to smoke at age 17-18 than children whose parents continue to smoke.
Parent’s smoking (or non-smoking) have a big influence on their children as the children of non-smoking parents are 71% less likely to become smokers themselves.
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This is important as only 1 out of 10 children who don’t smoke by age 18 will become smokers. It is however important to stop smoking before your children reach the age of 8, as children are more open to be influenced by their parent’s smoking between the ages of 8 and 20.
Bricker and his team found that if just one parent stopped smoking or never smoked the chances of their children becoming every day teen smokers were reduced.
“It didn’t matter whether one or both parents quit when the child was a baby, a toddler, or in third grade,” Bricker says in a news release. “The most important thing was that they quit.”
Bricker’s team collected information on over three thousand 3rd graders and their parents in 20 Washington school districts. They interviewed the kids and parents again when the kids were 17 or 18 years old. The parents reported on their own smoking habits.
Here’s the breakdown on how the parents’ smoking behaviour influenced the children’s eventual smoking habits.
|Parents’ smoking behaviour||% of Children who became smokers|
|Both parents never smoked||14%|
|Both parent quit||26%|
|Both parent smoke||37%|
|Mother never smoked, father quit||19%|
|Father never smoked, mother quit:||21%|
|Mother never smoked, father still smokes||27%|
|Father never smoked, mother still smokes||31%|
|Mother quit, father still smokes||32%|
|Father quit, mother still smokes||28%|