Teens of a parent who smoked -- even if the mother or father quit before the teen was born -- are more likely to smoke than those whose parents are nonsmokers, a new study finds.
Having an older brother or sister who smokes also raises the odds that a teen will pick up the habit, the researchers report.
"These findings imply that any amount of smoking could have important influences on the next generation," said lead researcher Mike Vuolo, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University. "Given the influence on the oldest siblings, this is especially the case in heavy-smoking households."
The report was published online Aug. 5 and in the September print issue of Pediatrics.
Dr. John Spangler, a professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said there may well be a genetic component to these findings. "This study confirms what we have already sensed, that there is a family history of tobacco use among many smokers," Spangler said. "We know that people are more likely to uses substances like alcohol based on family history, the same holds true for tobacco use."
Source: U.S. News & World Report