Objectives: We investigated the relationship among father's occupational group, daily smoking, and smoking determinants in a cohort of New Zealand adolescents.
Methods: The longitudinal Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study provided information on adolescents' self-reported smoking behavior and potential predictors of smoking, such as social and material factors, personality characteristics, educational achievement, and individual attitudes and beliefs regarding smoking. Longitudinal logistic generalized estimating equation analyses were used.
Results: Adolescents whose fathers were classified in the lowest-status occupational group were twice as likely as those whose fathers occupied the highest-status occupational group to be daily smokers. This high risk of daily smoking among the adolescents from the lowest occupational group was largely predicted by their lower intelligence scores and by the higher prevalence of smoking among fathers and friends.
Conclusions: To prevent socioeconomic differences in smoking, school-based interventions should seek to prevent smoking uptake among adolescents, particularly those of lower socioeconomic status. Programs need to provide positive, nonsmoking role models consonant with the culture and norms of lower-socioeconomic-status groups. Adolescents need to acquire resistance skills and protective behaviors against social pressure and influences.