Parental influences predict adolescent smoking in the United States, 1989-1993

J Adolesc Health. 1998 Jun;22(6):466-74. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(98)00013-5.


Purpose: To examine parental influences on two transitions in the adolescent smoking uptake process: from never having smoked to experimentation and from experimentation to established smoking.

Methods: Using data from the longitudinal Teenage Attitudes and Practices Survey of 1989-1993, we related perceived parental concern about their adolescents' future smoking, parental smoking status, problem-solving communication between parent and adolescent, demographics, and other factors at baseline to experimentation by follow-up among those who had never puffed on a cigarette (n = 4149). We also related these factors at baseline to reaching a lifetime level of smoking of at least 100 cigarettes by follow up among those who had experimented but smoked < 100 cigarettes (n = 2684) in univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: Among never-smokers, baseline susceptibility to smoking and having male best friends who smoke predicted experimentation in the next 4 years. Among experimenters, susceptibility to smoking, having male or female best friends who smoked, and lack of parental concern about future smoking distinguished those who progressed to established smoking by follow-up. Furthermore, communicating with parents first about serious problems was protective against progression from experimentation to established smoking.

Conclusion: Interventions aimed at reducing adolescent smoking should encourage cessation for parents who smoke and help parents communicate strong anti-smoking norms to children and adolescents and maintain strong lines of communication with them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Peer Group
  • Problem Solving
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation