Results of a recent study show that the more a parent smokes, the likelihood increases that their son or daughter smoke.

Researchers used data between 2004 and 2012 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which interviewed annually more than 67,000 persons over the age of 12. The study itself focused on 35,000 parent-adolescent pairs and analyzed their responses regarding the smoking status and nicotine dependence of parents and adolescents. Additional data were collected, including parent and adolescent perceived risk of smoking, depression, adolescent use of alcohol or other drugs, and perceptions of the quality of parenting, such as parental monitoring, level of support, and instances of conflict.

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 teens whose parent was dependent on nicotine had smoked at least one cigarette. Among teenagers who had smoked at least one cigarette, 5 percent were dependent if their parent never smoked, but 15 percent were dependent if their parent was dependent. The effect of parental smoking and dependence persisted after controlling for factors such as adolescent use of alcohol and other drugs. Overall, teens 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.

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