Parents Pass on Smoking Habits to Their Children

By Staff Writer

Parents who smoke cigarettes without ever seeking substance abuse help for their addiction may be increasing the risk that their children will also smoke, according to a new study from a team of European researchers.

Their findings are the latest in a slew of studies showing that parental smoking hurts the health of their children. However, while most have looked at the effects of second hand smoke, the new study is among the first to show that children of smokers are more likely to smoke themselves, which puts them at increased risk for a number of deadly diseases.

After reviewing the results of national surveys, researchers from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain found that 24 percent of children from households where both parents smoke developed nicotine habits. However, only 12 percent of those whose parents didn’t use cigarettes became smokers.

The researchers also noted a strong gender bias. Boys were more likely to smoke if their fathers used cigarettes, while girls were more likely to pick up their mothers’ nicotine habits.

The researchers said that the only sure way for parents to eliminate the risk of passing on smoking habits to their children is to quit. This may prevent future generations from needing substance abuse help.