adult smoking near child

Children four times more likely to take up smoking if their parents are smokers

A film, made by the Better Health Smoke Free campaign has been released the effects of adult smokers on younger people.

Research into smoking influences on young people has shown that they are twice as likely to trying smoking and four times a likely to be a regular smoker if their main caregiver smokes.

Experts and leading family doctors have warned parents to work towards quitting smoking this January to help the younger generation.

Maggie Throup MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, said: “We know that many people make a quit attempt in January, and while there are so many good reasons to stop smoking for yourself, we hope that this new campaign – by highlighting the inter-generational smoking link with parents influencing their children – will be the added motivation many need to ditch the cigarettes for good this year.

“With so much help and support available for parents, carers and anyone looking to quit – including the NHS Quit Smoking app, support on Facebook, daily emails and texts, and an online Personal Quit Plan – you will not be alone in your new year’s resolution.”

The Better Health campaign gives people access to a range off free quitting tools and support such as expert advice from local Stop Smoking Services, Stoptober online communities, the NHS Quit Smoking app and an online Personal Quit Plan.

In the video, Dr Bettina Hohnen, a child psychologist explains the impact parents’ behaviour can have on children.

She said: “Even if we don’t directly expose children to second-hand smoke, or believe we are hiding our smoking by not smoking directly in front of them, it can still have a major impact and children can pick up the behaviour without you even being aware you’d had an influence.

“Children copy their parents’ and carers’ behaviours, so it’s important to model the behaviour you want from your child, or we can pass on behaviours without even realising. Actions really do speak louder than words, so if you don’t smoke, you will significantly reduce the chances of them taking up smoking in the future.”

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NHE May/June 2024

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