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Parental smoking and smoking experimentation in childhood increase the risk of being a smoker 20 years later. The childhood determinants of adult health study

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posted on 2023-05-16, 21:43 authored by Seana GallSeana Gall, Christopher BlizzardChristopher Blizzard, Patton, GC, Terry DwyerTerry Dwyer, Alison VennAlison Venn
Aims: To examine the long-term effects of childhood smoking experimentation and exposure to parental smoking on adult smoking risk. Methods: Data were from a 20-year follow-up of 9-15-year-olds who completed questionnaires in the 1985 Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey (n = 6559). The relative risks (RR) of adult current smoking in 2004-05 for childhood exposure to smoking experimentation (never, a few puffs, < 10 cigarettes, >10 cigarettes) and parental smoking (none, father, mother, both parents) in 1985, with adjustment for confounders, were estimated by log binomial modelling. Analyses were stratified by age (9-13 and 14-15 years) and sex. Findings: Participation at follow-up was 54% (n = 3559). Childhood smoking experimentation increased the risk of being a current smoker particularly for 14-15-year-old experimenters of more than 10 cigarettes [males, RR 2.72, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.74-4.25; females, RR 6.39, 95% CI 2.85-14.33]. Parental smoking was associated with adult current smoking risk, particularly for 9-13-year-olds with two smoking parents (males, RR 1.53, 95% CI 1.19-1.96; females, RR 1.99, 95% CI 1.52-2.61) and older males with smoking mothers (RR 1.82, 95% CI 1.22-2.73). Parental smoking was not associated with childhood smoking experimentation. Conclusions: These findings suggest that any childhood smoking experimentation increases the risk of being a smoker 20 years later. As exposure to parental smoking predicted current smoking, parents should be aware of the association between their own smoking behaviour and that of their children. © 2008 The Authors.


National Health & Medical Research Council


Publication title











Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Preventive medicine

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