Smoking habits are transmitted from mother to daughter and father to son

Smoking habits are transmitted from mother to daughter and father to son
The study could help in terms of designing public policies to combat smoking. Credit: SINC

A European research group has studied how smoking habits are transmitted within the home. The results show that, in homes where both parents are present, there is a significant degree of inter-generational transmission of smoking habits between parents and children, particularly between individuals of the same gender.

"Fathers transmit their smoking habits to a statistically significant level to their sons, and the same is true of mothers and daughters. However, if a mother smokes it does not seem to impact on the probability of her son smoking, and similarly a father that smokes does not affect his daughter", Loureiro, a researcher at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC), in Spain, and co-author of the study, tells SINC.

The research, which has been published in the journal Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, is based on information from the British Household Panel Survey 1994-2002. "We selected this data source because it gives detailed information on the products consumed in , including , making it possible to analyse the transmission of smoking habits between generations", the experts explain.

The study was carried out in homes where both parents were present as well as in single parent households, which were primarily headed by mothers.

"The results obtained show that, in terms of smoking habits, after taking socio-economic variables into account, daughters tend to imitate their mothers, while sons imitate their mothers", says Loureiro.

The estimated probabilities of a son smoking if both parents smoke is 24%, but this falls to almost 12% if neither of the parents smokes. For daughters, the probability of smoking if both parents smoke is 23%, also falling to 12% if neither of the parents smokes.

In single-parent households, mothers transmit their smoking habits to their children – regardless of their gender. In this case, a son's likelihood of smoking if the mother smokes is 32%, and 28% for a daughter.

"These results have clear importance in terms of designing public policies to combat smoking. Policies that are successful in reducing smoking habits among will also affect their children. Anti-smoking policies for young people need to be put in place that will also include the family and social context in which they live", explains Loureiro.


Explore further

Children of smokers have more than 5 times higher levels of a nicotine toxin

More information: María Loureiro, Anna Sanz de Galdeano y Daniela Vuri 'Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter?' Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 72(6): 0305-9049, 2010.
Provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Citation: Smoking habits are transmitted from mother to daughter and father to son (2011, January 28) retrieved 24 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-habits-transmitted-mother-daughter-father.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jan 28, 2011
"...daughters tend to imitate their mothers, while sons imitate their mothers", says Loureiro."

Typo. second use of 'mothers' should be 'fathers.'

Jan 28, 2011
This is probably due to the fact that they are the children's role models. To further the study, they should have conducted how gay and lesbian children pick up on the habit (perhaps this may show correlations between sexuality and role models and even further help the argument that smoking is due to a child's role model.)

Jan 28, 2011
All I can say is that I smoked quite heavily while my sons were growing up (I've since quit). Neither of my sons smoke or has smoked. Guess they were too smart or else saw what it did to dad.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more