What parents can do to keep their children from smoking: A systematic review on smoking-specific parenting strategies and smoking onset

Addict Behav. 2017 Jul:70:107-128. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.02.003. Epub 2017 Feb 9.


Aim: To provide a systematic overview of longitudinal studies on different smoking-specific parenting practices (i.e., perceived parental norms and influences, smoking-specific monitoring, availability of cigarettes at home, household smoking rules, non-smoking agreements, smoking-specific communication, and parental reactions) as useful tools in the prevention of youth smoking.

Method: MEDLINE and PsychINFO search identified 986 studies published from 1990 to December 2016. Two independent researchers identified eligible studies. Study quality was assessed using Newcastle Ottawa Scale (NOS).

Results: The systematic search resulted in 1 to 14 longitudinal studies per parenting practice. Studies scored between 4 and 9 on the NOS, indicating an overall moderate quality. The results of complete smoking house rules showed a preventive effect on smoking onset. Furthermore, availability of cigarettes, frequency and quality of communication, parental reaction (i.e., conflict engagement) and norms showed significant and non-significant effects. Significant results were in line with expectations: availability of cigarettes and frequent communication about smoking predicted smoking, whereas a high quality of communication, negative reactions or punishments and setting norms by parents showed a preventive effect. No effects were found for non-smoking agreements. The number of studies was too limited to draw conclusions about other parenting strategies. More research on (1) reliable and valid instruments, (2) other stages of smoking in addition to onset, and (3) potential moderators and mediators is warranted.

Conclusion: While evidence supports the effectiveness of smoking-specific parenting, further research is required.

Keywords: Adolescence; Anti-smoking socialization; Smoking; Smoking-specific parenting; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Smoking Prevention / methods*