Did you smoke when you were younger? If so, your kids may be more likely to smoke themselves—even if you quit before they were born.
Lead researcher Mike Vuolo at Purdue University says the findings indicate that any amount of smoking could have an important influence on the next generation.
According to an article in HealthDay.com, the study found that in homes with a persistent heavy-smoking parent, the oldest sibling is influenced to smoke. In turn, that increases the chances that younger siblings will smoke by six times.
Dr. Vuolo says “We should educate young people that smoking at any time in their lives could have an influence on their children. Also, preventative efforts should target heavy-smoking households, trying to break the cycle of influence on the oldest siblings.”
Dr. John Spangler, a professor of family medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, believes there may be a genetic component to these findings.
Dr. Spangler says “This study confirms what we have already sensed, that there is a family history of tobacco use among many smokers. We know that people are more likely to uses substances like alcohol based on family history, the same holds true for tobacco use.”
He believes there may be a genetic predisposition to metabolize nicotine differently.
The researchers say that parents who were former smokers should realize their child is more likely to become a smoker. These parents may want to discuss smoking with their children with an eye toward preventing it.
If you’re a smoker who is trying to quit, you can find help through the American Lung Association. Their website is lung.org.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.