Parental, family, and home characteristics associated with cigarette smoking among adolescents

Kelli A. Komro, Maribet C. McCarty, Jean L. Forster, Therese M. Blaine, Vincent Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose. This study examines the relationship between smoking-related parental, family, and home factors with adolescents' cigarette use. Design. Cross-sectional surveys of adolescents, via a self-administered questionnaire in classrooms, and their parents, via a telephone interview, were conducted. Setting. Fifteen suburban and rural communities within Minnesota. Subjects. The study sample included 8th, 9th, and 10th grade public school students and their parents. Measures. The dependent variable was monthly tobacco use among students. The independent measures were parental, family, and home smoking-related characteristics. There were 1343 parent-child dyads with completed surveys. Results. The final, multivariate logistic regression model found the following variables to be independently related to higher smoking rates among adolescents: child's grade (odds ratio [OR] = 3.03 for 10th vs. 8th), parents' permissiveness of adult smoking (OR = 1.80), parents' having higher normative estimates of how many people smoke (OR = 1.70), parents' decreased likelihood of punishing their teenager for smoking (OR = 1.65), smoking by an adult living in the home (OR = 1.99), and sibling smoking (OR = 8.95). Lack of communication about consequences for breaking family smoking rules was associated with lower smoking rates among adolescents (OR = .49). Conclusion. The results of this study highlight the importance of parental smoking norms and attitudes and smoking role models in the home. It is important that smoking prevention strategies target and include the entire family. Limitations of the study are its cross-sectional design and that the sample was primarily white.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


  • Adolescent
  • Family
  • Risk Factors, Prevention Research
  • Smoking


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