Children See, Children Do
Since 1981 the number of smokers in Canada has been dropping for almost every age group except for children and adolescents.1 Among smokers aged 15-17, almost 80% said they had tried smoking by age 14.
- Parental smoking is a key factor in children accepting smoking as normal.2
- Research has found3 that children of smokers were almost twice as likely to smoke as children with parents who never smoked.
- If someone in the family smokes, there is a greater chance that a younger sibling will start smoking.2,4
- Children who believe that their parents would disapprove of their smoking are less likely to take up smoking than those who see their parents smoking.5
- Tobacco use among teen smokers is a predictor of substance and drug abuse.6
- The smoking behaviour of a best friend or peer group is a major factor in taking up smoking. If their friends smoke, the child/adolescent will likely smoke as well.7
- Research on teenage attitudes has shown that smoking represents a symbol of belonging to a social group, particularly in early secondary school.4,7
- For children and adolescents, smoking signifies maturity, control, defiance, individuality, and a means of coping with stress.
- Experimentation with alcohol generally occurs earlier than with tobacco and adolescents who smoke are also likely to engage in other drug use.6
- Children are vulnerable to advertising. It has been shown that advertising is one of the key variables in convincing children to take up smoking.4,5,7
- Research has shown that children who buy imitation candy cigarettes are almost four times more likely to try real cigarettes.8
- Easy access to cigarettes is a predictor of uptake of smoking.3,4
- Among smokers 15-17years old, 31% report being given cigarettes by a friend or family member.7
- Since 1994, there has been an increase from 19% to 39% of teen smokers reporting that their usual sources for cigarettes are friends, relatives or parents.7
- Over the same time, there has been a decline from 57% to 45% among teen smokers who buy cigarettes at corner stores.7
- Health Canada. 3. Trends in Smoking. CTUMS (Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey), Wave 1, February-June 1999.
- Lynch BS, Bonnie RJ Eds. Growing Up Tobacco Free. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1994:54-55.
- Bauman KE, Foshee VA, Linzer MA, Koch GG. Effect Of Parental Smoking Classification On The Association Between Parental And Adolescent Smoking. Addictive Behaviours. 1990;15(5):413-22.
- US Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 1994.
- Health Canada. Social Influence And Restrictions On Smoking. Youth Smoking Survey 1994: Technical Report. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services, Canada, 1996.
- Torabi MR, Bailey WJ, and Massoumeh Majd-Jabbari. Cigarette Smoking As A Predictor Of Alcohol And Other Drug Use By Children And Adolescents: Evidence Of The Gateway Drug Effect. Journal of School Health. 1993;63(7):302-306.
- Clark W. Youth Smoking In Canada. Canadian Social Trends-Winter 1996, Statistics Canada - Catalogue 11-008-XPE.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 1994.
- Klein JD, Forehand B, Oliveri J, Patterson CJ, Kupersmidt JB, Strecher V. Candy Cigarettes: Do They Encourage Children's Smoking? Pediatrics. 1992; 88: 27-31.