Does parental smoking cessation encourage their young adult children to quit smoking? A prospective study

Addiction. 2005 Mar;100(3):379-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.00997.x.


Aims: To investigate the extent to which parental early and late smoking cessation predicts their young adult children's smoking cessation.

Design: Parental early smoking cessation status was assessed when children were in 3rd grade, parental late smoking cessation was assessed when children were in 11th grade, and young adult children's smoking cessation was assessed 2 years after high school.

Setting: Forty Washington State school districts participated in the Hutchinson Smoking Prevention Project.

Participants and measurements: Participants were the 1553 families in which parents were ever regular smokers who had a young adult child smoking at least weekly at 12th grade who also reported their smoking status 2 years later. Questionnaire data were gathered on parents and their young adult children (49% female and 91% Caucasian) in a cohort with a 94% retention rate.

Findings: Parents who quit early had children with 1.8 (OR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.22, 2.64) times higher odds of quitting smoking for at least 1 month in young adulthood compared to those whose parents did not quit early. In contrast, there was no association (OR = 0.84; 95% CI = 0.47, 1.51) between parents quitting late and their young adult children's smoking cessation.

Conclusions: Parental early smoking cessation is associated with increased odds of their young adult children's smoking cessation. Parents who smoke should be encouraged to quit when their children are young.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Smoking Prevention*