Smoking: Children of parents who smoke are four times more likely to take up habit, study says

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Philip Morris sells more than a tenth of cigarettes worldwide

Teenagers whose parents smoke are four times more likely to take up smoking, according to a new government campaign.

Doctors have urged parents and other caregivers to give up smoking.

The Better Health Smoking campaign said that 4.9% of teenagers whose parents smoke have taken up smoking, whereas only 1.2% of teenagers whose parents do not smoke have taken up smoking.

In a new film issued by the NHS, health experts discuss the link between adult smoking and children taking up smoking.

The Better Health Smoke Free campaign highlights research that shows the impact adult smokers have on the young people in their lives.

In the film, GP Dr Nighat Arif and child psychologist Dr Bettina Hohnen call on parents to make a new year resolution to quit for good – to bring a benefit that will last for decades.

They are joined in that call by two experts in the field of quitting smoking – Prof Nick Hopkinson and Dr Anthony Laverty, both from Imperial College London.

Health minister Maggie Throup said that she hopes this research will give parents an extra motivation to quit smoking. She added that the new campaign highlights "the inter-generational smoking link with parents influencing their children" and this could be "the added motivation many need to ditch the cigarettes for good this year".

The health minister said that there was help and support available for parents, carers and anyone looking to quit smoking, "including the NHS Quit Smoking app, support on Facebook, daily emails and texts, and an online Personal Quit Plan".

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