Children whose parents smoke are likely to copy them

Teens whose parents or caregivers smoke are four times as likely to take up smoking, top medical experts have warned. 

In a new film that is part of the government’s Better Health Smoke-Free campaign, NHS and behavioural health experts discuss the link between adult smoking and the likelihood of children becoming smokers. 

Recent research from NatCen Social Research has also shown children aged 10-15 were more likely to smoke if either their mother or father currently smoked. Children were also more likely to smoke if either parent had smoked in the past, even if they were not a current smoker.

The Better Health campaign gives access to a range of free quitting support and tools including free expert help from local Stop Smoking Services, the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook messenger bot, Stoptober Facebook online communities, daily emails, and SMS, and an online Personal Quit Plan.

white cigarette stick on white wall

The film forms part of the Better Health Smoke-Free campaign from the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in the Department of Health and Social Care, and aims to give smokers a strong motivation to quit in January, offering free and proven NHS resources and advice.

The campaign comes as the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows that one in eight adults in England still smokes. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer and joint lead for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparity, Dr. Jeanelle de Gruchy said: ‘Smoking is terrible for your health but it also has a negative impact on people around you.

‘Most people know the dangers of second smoke but we should not overlook the impact that parents have as role models. Every parent wants what is best for their child and will not want them to become smokers. By stopping smoking now, parents can help break the pattern of smoking in their family across the generations, protect their children and improve their own health.’



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