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Tob Induc Dis. 2003 Sep 15;1(3):175-83. doi: 10.1186/1617-9625-1-3-175.

Does having children affect adult smoking prevalence and behaviours at home?

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Division of Paediatrics, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping Sweden.



Smoking prevalence and smoking behaviours have changed in society and an increased awareness of the importance of protecting children from environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is reported. The aim of this study was to find out if smoking prevalence and smoking behaviours were influenced by parenthood, and if differences in health-related quality of life differed between smoking and non-smoking parents.


Questionnaires were sent to a randomly selected sample, including 1735 men and women (20-44 years old), residing in the south-east of Sweden. Participation rate was 78%. Analyses were done to show differences between groups, and variables of importance for being a smoker and an indoor smoker.


Parenthood did not seem to be associated with lower smoking prevalence. Logistic regression models showed that smoking prevalence was significantly associated with education, gender and mental health. Smoking behaviour, as well as attitudes to passive smoking, seemed to be influenced by parenthood. Parents of dependent children (0-19 years old) smoked outdoors significantly more than adults without children (p < 0.01). Logistic regression showed that factors negatively associated with outdoor smoking included having immigrant status, and not having preschool children. Parents of preschool children found it significantly more important to keep the indoor environment smoke free than both parents with schoolchildren (p = 0.02) and adults without children (p < 0.001). Significant differences in self-perceived health-related quality of life indexes (SF-36) were seen between smokers and non-smokers.


As smoking behaviour, but not smoking prevalence, seems to be influenced by parenthood, it is important to consider the effectiveness of commonly used precautions when children's risk for ETS exposure is estimated.

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