Setting an example by kicking the habit-smoking
there's no parental smoke, there's less chance children will get
fired up about cigarettes.
A study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center found parents who quit smoking before their kids reach
the third grade greatly reduce the risk that the kids will
become smokers by the time they're seniors in high school.
If one parent quits smoking by the time the child is 8 or
9 years old, the child's odds of becoming a daily or monthly smoker by age 17 or 18 are reduced by 25 percent. If both
parents quit when the child is 8 or 9 years old, the child's
odds of becoming a smoker decline by almost 40 percent.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than
3,000 children and parents in 20 school districts in Washington
"Statistics show that if a child reaches age 18 without
becoming a smoker, his or her odds of remaining smoke-free are
around 90 percent. Therefore, our results indicate that if all
smoking parents were to quit by the time their children were
around age 8, it could prevent 136,000 young people in the
United States from becoming daily, long-term smokers."
The study found mothers weren't more influential than
fathers in this regard and girls were no more susceptible than
boys. The study also found that children who are least likely to
smoke have parents who never smoked.
Among senior high school students, the rates of smoking
were 14 percent for those whose parents had never smoked, 37 percent among those whose parents both smoked, and
26 percent among those whose parents had both quit smoking by
the time the child was in third grade.
More study is needed to determine the benefits when parents
stop smoking after their children reach age 8 or 9, the