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J Adolesc Health. 1998 Jun;22(6):466-74.

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

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Cancer Prevention and Control Program, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0901, USA.



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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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