Research Article|Articles in Press

Parental Smoking in Childhood as a Smoking Risk Factor Throughout Middle Age

  • Lucie Kalousova
    Address correspondence to: Lucie Kalousova, PhD, Department of Medicine, Health, Society and Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 2201 West End Avenue, Nashville TN 37235.
    Department of Medicine, Health, Society and Sociology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesse
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Published:February 28, 2023DOI:


      Children of people who smoke have a well-documented higher risk of smoking initiation. However, little is known about the persistence of the association between parental smoking and children's own smoking as they age.


      This study uses data collected by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics collected between 1968 and 2017 and investigates the association between parental smoking and children's own smoking through middle age and how it may be modified by adult children's SES using regression models. The analysis was conducted between 2019 and 2021.


      The results show an increased risk of smoking among adult children of parents who smoked. Their odds were elevated in young adulthood (OR=1.55, 95% CI=1.11, 2.14), established adulthood (OR=1.53, 95% CI = 1.08, 2.15), and middle age (OR=1.63, 95% CI=1.04, 2.55). Interaction analysis shows that this statistically significant relationship is limited to high-school graduates only. Among people who smoked in the past or who currently smoke, children of people who smoked had longer average smoking duration. Interaction analysis shows that this risk is limited to high-school graduates only. The adult children of people who smoked and have less than a high-school education, some college, and college graduates did not have a statistically significantly increased risk of smoking or longer smoking duration.


      The findings highlight the durability of early life influences, especially for people with low SES.
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