Study: Parents Shouldn’t Let Up in Preventing Children From Smoking

When it comes to discouraging children from smoking, parents should try, try again, a new study advises.Researchers monitored adolescents over a period of three years to see how many picked up smoking cigarettes during the time period.  They also assessed changes in family factors thought to protect against smoking initiation over time.

Protective family factors included punishment, monitoring and connectedness.  While all three were shown to decrease over time, the levels of protective factors were consistently higher in nonsmoking youths compared to smokers.

Higher levels of connectedness and monitoring by parents, specifically, decreased the risk of smoking initiation by as much as 30 percent.

“Even though the level of protective family factors decreased as youth grew older, they remained important in continuing to protect against smoking initiation,” said Melinda Mahabee-Gittens, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “These findings support smoking prevention interventions that encourage parents to enforce consistent consequences of smoking behavior, continued monitoring and connectedness.”

The study was presented on Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Denver.