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Children of smoking parents likely to be smokers

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New York: Teenagers are much more likely to smoke and be dependent on nicotine if either parent is dependent on nicotine, says a new study.

The study said daughters were especially vulnerable if their mother smoked.

Researchers from the Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute used data between 2004 and 2012 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The authors found that 13 percent of adolescents whose parent never smoked said they had ever smoked at least one cigarette.

By comparison, 38 percent of teenagers whose parent was dependent on nicotine had smoked at least one cigarette.

Among teenagers who had smoked at least one cigarette, five percent were dependent if their parent never smoked, but 15 percent were dependent if their parent was dependent.

Overall, teenagers had three times the odds of smoking at least one cigarette, and nearly twice the odds of nicotine dependence, if their parent was dependent on nicotine.

Daughters were almost four times as likely to be dependent on nicotine when their mothers were dependent on nicotine but were not affected by fathers’ nicotine dependence, the study found.

“Most smokers start smoking when they are teenagers. As this study shows, parents are a powerful influence,” said lead author professor Denise Kandel from Columbia University.

“To prevent teens from starting to smoke and becoming addicted to tobacco, we need to do a better job of helping parents quit smoking,” Kandell stressed.

The study appeared online in the American Journal of Public Health.