Throwing out the cigarettes before a child reaches the third grade
may reduce the chances that he or she will become a smoker, according to
a study published in the journal Addiction.
If one parent quits before the child is 8 or 9, the child's odds of
being a regular smoker decrease by 25 percent. If both parents quit, the
odds go down by 40 percent, according to the study. Researchers at the
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle estimate that if all
smokers quit by the time their children turn 8, as many as 136,000
teenagers in the United States could be prevented from becoming daily
smokers. Reseachers hope the findings motivate parents to quit smoking
for their children's sake.
The study collected data on the smoking habits of parents with
children in the third grade, then followed up with the kids in 12th grade
to see if they smoked.
Children are particularly likely to start smoking between the ages
of 8 and 20. The odds that a child who makes it to 18 without smoking
will stay smoke-free are 90 percent.