Teenagers whose parents smoke four times as likely to take up the habit, new research finds

By Helen Johnson
Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 10:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 10:16 am
Teenagers whose parents smoke are four times as likely to take up smoking, according to a government campaign (Photo: Shutterstock)
Teenagers whose parents smoke are four times as likely to take up smoking, according to a government campaign (Photo: Shutterstock)

Teenagers whose parents smoke are four times as likely to take up smoking, according to a government campaign.

The Better Health Smoke Free initiative highlights research showing the impact adult smokers have on younger people, with analysis finding that some 4.9% of young teenagers who grow up with a smoking caregiver also smoke regularly, against just 1.2% for those whose caregiver doesn't smoke.

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As part of the campaign the NHS has released a film where health experts discuss the link between adult smoking and the likelihood of children in their household becoming smokers.

In the film, family GP Dr Nighat Arif, child psychologist Dr Bettina Hohnen and smoking cessation experts Professor Nick Hopkinson and Dr Anthony Laverty of Imperial College London urge parents to give up smoking for their new year’s resolutions.

Health minister Maggie Throup also said she hoped the new research would give parents extra motivation to quit smoking.

Ms Throup said: “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 won’t be alone in your new year’s resolution.”

For those considering quitting smoking, the NHS has a variety of resources and advice available, including a free NHS Quit Smoking app.