Teenagers whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, or whose parents or friends smoke, are likely to smoke.
Findings come from a new study conducted at Imperial College London and published today in the journal Thorak, which emphasizes caregivers and friends as key drivers of children trying and smoking cigarettes.
The study, which looked at more than 11,500 children across Britain, shows that despite the reduction in smoking in the United Kingdom since the 1970s, a large number of first teenagers (about 14 years old) still try or continue to smoke.
According to researchers, the results point to the "portable" nature of tobacco smoking – with teens that are much larger than getting used to friends and family – and support the need for measures to reduce smoking among pregnant women, as well as protecting children from smoking in the home.
Dr Anthony Laverti of the Imperial School of Public Health and lead author of the study said: "Most smokers start their childhood, although smoking is reduced in adults and children, many children in Britain still smoke. This poses a serious risk to their health during your life, because smoking kills one in two smokers. "
In the studio, the team used data from the Millennium Cohort Studios, which looks at children throughout Britain at regular intervals as they age. They analyzed data on a total of 11,577 children to see which factors were related to whether the children tried to smoke or are currently smokers.
Teens whose smokers smoked were more than twice as likely to have smoked. More than a quarter (26 percent) of teenagers whose main carer smoked said they tried cigarettes and five percent said they were currently smokers, compared to 11 percent and one percent among those whose carers did not smoke.
The analysis also showed that approximately one in every three early teens (35 percent) reported that their friends smoked themselves by trying their own cigarettes, compared with only four percent of those whose friends did not smoke. There was also an increase in the risk of smoking, as the percentage of their friends who smoked increased.
In addition to friends and family effects in teenage years, the study found that exposure to smoking in early life was associated with subsequent smoking behaviors – more than triple risk. Both children who were exposed to smoking in the same room when they were younger, and those whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were probably smokers.
Millennium Cohort Studi follows the sample of children born in UK 2000/01 and includes interviews and questionnaires with children and their carers on a number of factors. The results of this study are based on responses from 13 and 14 years of respondents in 2014 and 2015. Overall, 1.9 percent of children who participated were current smokers. Current smoking was more common among children from poorer families (14 times more in the poorest 20 percent of the richest 20 percent), and among girls from boys (2.4 percent versus 1.4 percent).
"In order to protect the health of children, we must do more to deal with smoking among parents, especially when they are pregnant or young children, as well as encouraging the cessation of smoking and homes without smoking," added Dr. Laverti. "The link between child's smoking behavior and those of their friends emphasizes the need for comprehensive interventions, such as school-based strategies. Smoking in pregnancy is also a risk because about one in every 10 women still smokes in pregnancy, and more needs are done to support the abandonment, both for themselves and for their children. "
Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, senior author of a study from the Imperial National Institute of Heart and Lung, added: "Our findings emphasize the" portable "nature of the tobacco epidemic, from parents to children and friends. Understanding and resolving it will be vital to achieving the goal of the government's tobacco control plan for the "generation without smoke." "