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HHS HealthBeat (October 22, 2013)

Passing along smoking

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Kids learn from parents – and that includes smoking. Researchers saw this in data on people from St. Paul, Minnesota, who were followed from ninth grade to age 38 – and their kids, who were followed from around 11 to 21.

Mike Vuolo of Purdue University in Indiana says children of never-smokers were unlikely to smoke, and children of smokers – or even former smokers – were more likely to smoke.

Vuolo says the effect was most noticeable in children of heavy smokers:

"Amongst the heavy smokers, the oldest siblings in those households were actually much more likely to smoke, and then that translated into the younger siblings actually being much more likely to smoke."

The study in the journal Pediatrics was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: October 22, 2013