Parents have big influence on whether their kids become smokers

May 27, 2009

The Taranaki District Health Board says research shows kids who have a parent who smokes are three times more likely to become smokers themselves, compared with those whose parents do not smoke.

This message is part of the Face the Facts education initiative, developed by the Health Sponsorship Council and Ministry of Health.

Tamara Higgs, Health Promoter from the Taranaki District Health Board says parents underestimate the influence they have on whether or not their children become smokers and continue to smoke.

“Sometimes it can seem that what you say to your children falls on deaf ears, and what you do has little impact – but that’s not the case with smoking. A New Zealand study carried out in 2006 estimated that approximately 40 percent of adolescent smoking was due to parental smoking.

“This sounds like a scary statistic – but actually it’s a hopeful one. Because it means that as parents we can have a positive impact on our children’s future health.

Miss Higgs says studies have found that a parenting style that has warmth and structure has been linked with lower rates of adolescent smoking.

“Research also shows that young people who feel connected and bonded with their parents are less likely to smoke tobacco. Conversely, a lack of concern from parents and lack of communication between parents and adolescents is associated with a higher likelihood that kids will smoke.”

Miss Higgs says that all parents want the best for their children. “By quitting smoking, you get a double whammy. Not only will you be improving your own health, but you’ll also be making it more likely that your kids will grow up smokefree.”

Free help is available from Ngati Ruanui Health Services 06 278 1310 or Piki Te Ora Nursing Services 06 759 7305 for those wanting to quit smoking.

For more information please contact:

Tamara Higgs
Health Promoter
Taranaki District Health Board
06 7537777 ext 8521

For further information on World Smokefree Day, go to:

Last updated: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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