Children whose parents smoke are four times more likely to start smoking themselves


  • Experts warn that teenagers whose parents smoke are likely to copy them into adulthood
  • In the new film, health experts discuss how adult smokers can act as role models
  • NHS support for smokers – especially parents, carers, and other adults – to encourage them to quit in the New Year

Leading medical experts have warned that teenagers whose parents or caregivers smoked were four times more likely to start smoking.

The analysis also showed that young teenagers whose primary caregiver smoked were more than twice as likely to try cigarettes (26% vs. 11%) and four times as likely to smoke regularly (4.9% vs. 1.2%).

A new government campaign for Better Health Smoke Free was launched as leading family doctors warn of the problems facing smokers’ children – and urges people to prevent it by quitting smoking in January.

In a new movie released today, NHS and behavioral health experts discuss the relationship between adult smoking and the likelihood of children smokers in their households. These include the family doctor Dr. Nighat Arif, the child psychologist Dr. Bettina Hohnen and the smoking cessation experts Professor Nick Hopkinson and Dr set a good example for their children.

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

We know many people will try to quit smoking in January, and while there are so many good reasons for yourself to quit smoking, we hope that this new campaign – by highlighting the intergenerational connection of smoking with parents who influence their children – the additional motivation that many need to give up cigarettes for good this year.

With so much help and support for parents, caregivers, and anyone looking to quit – including the NHS smoking cessation app, support on Facebook, daily emails and texts, and a personal online cessation plan – you will be in your new one Year not be alone dissolution.

Recent research by NatCen Social Research also found that children ages 10-15 are more likely to smoke if either their mother or father is currently smoking. Children were also more likely to smoke if either parent had smoked in the past, even if they were not currently a smoker.

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

Smoking is harmful to your health, but it also has negative effects on people around you.

Most people know the dangers of second smoking, but we shouldn’t overlook the importance of parents as role models. All parents want the best for their child and don’t want them to become a smoker. By quitting smoking now, parents can help break down smoking habits in their families for generations, protect their children, and improve their own health.

The film is part of the Better Health Smoke Free campaign of the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in the Department of Health and Social Care and is intended to give smokers a strong motivation in January with the free and proven NHS. stop resources and advice.

The campaign comes as the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that one in eight adults in England still smokes. Since the pandemic, a complex picture of smoking habits has emerged, with high smoking cessation rates, but also high relapses and signs of an increase in smoking rates among younger adults.

Professor Nick Hopkinson of Imperial College London said:

Our research is clear – adult smoking has noticeable effects on children. Children whose caregivers smoke are four times more likely to start smoking themselves. The most effective way to prevent this from happening would be for adults to quit smoking – this obviously has tremendous benefits not only for them, but also for their children, now and later in life.

Dr. Bettina Hohnen explains how the behavior of parents can have a major influence on the behavior of their children:

Even if we do not directly expose children to secondhand smoke or believe that we are masking our smoking by not smoking in front of them, it can still have a big impact and children can see the behavior without you even realizing you were influencing it. Children copy the behavior of their parents and caregivers, so it’s important to model the behavior you want your child to behave – or we can pass on behaviors without realizing it. Actions speak louder than words. So if you do not smoke, you are greatly reducing the chances that they will start smoking in the future.

The family doctor, Dr. Nighat Arif, has first-hand experience of helping smokers in her family doctor’s practice:

One in eight adults in England still smokes, and it remains the leading preventable cause of premature death. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you will ever do for your health, and it is never too late to quit. If you want to quit smoking in January for your family or for your own health, you are not alone. The Better Health campaign has tons of proven support and resources from the NHS that can help you quit for good.

Georgina, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, is 35 and quit smoking in January 2021 after she was only 16 years old. Her nephews inspired her to quit:

After 15 years of smoking, I made the decision to quit smoking because I really didn’t want to pass it on to the kids in my life. I was completely unconscious at first, but over time I noticed my 7- and 4-year-old nephews were watching me smoke. I have a huge impact on their lives so I was obviously afraid that one day they would start smoking too. I ended up quitting smoking – both for my own health and for my nephews. When I felt ready to quit, I turned to the Better Health website and looked at the various resources that were available to me to build confidence and give myself the best possible chance to quit.

The Better Health campaign provides access to a range of free smoking cessation support and tools including free expert help from local smoking cessation services, the NHS smoking cessation app, Facebook messenger bot, Stoptober Facebook online communities, daily emails and SMS as well as an online personal smoking cessation plan.

Look for “Smoke Free” for free and proven smoking cessation tools and advice on various types of support, nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) and e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking.


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