Children whose parents smoke are four times more likely to start smoking on their own

  • Experts warn teens whose parents smoke are likely to copy them into adulthood
  • New film features health experts discussing how adult smokers can serve as role models
  • NHS support offered to smokers – especially parents, caregivers and other adults – to encourage them to quit smoking in the New Year

Top medical experts have warned that teens whose parents or caregivers smoke are four times more likely to have started smoking.

The analysis also showed that young adolescents whose primary caregiver smoked were more than twice as likely to have tried cigarettes (26% vs. 11%) and four times as likely to be a regular smoker (4 , 9% against 1.2%).

A new government campaign Better Health Smoke Free has been launched as leading family physicians warn of the problems children of smokers face – and call on people to help prevent it by quitting in January.

In a new film released today, NHS and behavioral health experts discuss the link between smoking in adults and the likelihood of children in their households becoming smokers. This includes family doctor Dr Nighat Arif, child psychologist Dr Bettina Hohnen and smoking cessation experts Professor Nick Hopkinson and Dr Anthony Laverty of Imperial College London who have called on parents in particular to quit smoking. during the New Year to set a good example for their children.

Maggie Throup MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister of Vaccines and Public Health, explained why the campaign is being launched now:

We know that many people are trying to quit smoking in January, and while there are so many great reasons for you to quit smoking for yourself, we hope this new campaign – highlighting the intergenerational connection of smoking with parents influencing their children – will be the additional motivation, many need to quit smoking for good this year.

With so much help and support available for parents, caregivers, and anyone looking to quit smoking – including the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook support, daily emails and texts, and a plan personal shutdown online – you won’t be alone in your New Years resolution.

Recent research from NatCen Social Research has also shown that children between the ages of 10 and 15 are more likely to smoke if their mother or father currently smokes. Children were also more likely to smoke if one of the parents had smoked in the past, even if they did not currently smoke.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer and co-head of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy said:

Smoking is bad for your health, but it also has a negative impact on those around you.

Most people know about the dangers of second smoke, but we shouldn’t overlook the impact parents have as role models. Every parent wants the best for their child and won’t want them to become a smoker. By quitting smoking now, parents can help break the pattern of smoking in their families across generations, protect their children, and improve their own health.

The film is part of the Better Health Smoke Free campaign of the new Office for Improvement in Health and Disparities (OHID) of the Department of Health and Welfare, and aims to give smokers a strong motivation to quit. in January, by offering a 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. There is a complex picture of smoking habits since the pandemic, with high rates of smoking cessation but also high levels of relapse and signs of increasing smoking rates among young adults.

Professor Nick Hopkinson of Imperial College London said:

The results of our research are clear: smoking in adults has a tangible impact on children. Children whose guardians smoke are four times more likely to start smoking on their own. The most effective way to help prevent this would be for adults to quit smoking. This clearly not only brings them huge benefits, but it will also benefit their children now and later in life.

Dr Bettina Hohnen explains how parents’ behaviors can have a huge impact on their children’s:

Even if we don’t directly expose children to second-hand smoke, or think we are hiding our smoking by not smoking directly in front of them, it can still have a major impact and children can engage in the behavior without even having to smoke. you know it. you had an influence. Children copy the behaviors of their parents and guardians, so it’s important to model the behavior you want from your child – or we can transmit behaviors without even realizing it. Actions speak louder than words, so if you don’t smoke you will greatly reduce the chances of them starting to smoke in the future.

Family GP Dr Nighat Arif has direct experience of helping smokers in his general practice:

One in eight adults in England still smokes, and it remains the leading preventable cause of premature death. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, and it’s never too late to quit. If you want to quit smoking for your family or for your own health this January, you are not alone. The Better Health campaign provides tons of support and proven NHS resources that can help you quit for good.

Georgina from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, is 35 and quit smoking in January 2021 after having smoked since she was just 16. Her nephews urged her to stop:

After 15 years of smoking, I made the decision to quit because I really didn’t want to pass the habit on to the children in my life. I was totally unconscious at first, but over time I noticed my 7 and 4 year old nephews watching me smoke. I have a big influence in their life, so obviously I was afraid that they would one day start smoking too. In the end, I quit smoking – both for my own health but also for my nephews. When I felt ready to begin my journey to quit smoking, I turned to the Better Health website and looked at the various resources available to help me gain confidence and give myself the best possible chance. to quit smoking.

The Better Health campaign provides access to a range of free help and tools to quit smoking, including free expert help from local Stop Smoking services, the NHS Quit Smoking app, the Facebook messaging bot, Stoptober Facebook online communities, daily email and text messages, and an online personal shutdown program. Plan.

Search “Smoke Free” for free, proven smoking cessation tools and advice on different types of supports, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and e-cigarettes, to help you quit smoking.

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