Adolescents aged 12 to 17 living with mothers who are current smokers or who have had a major depressive episode in the past year are far more likely to smoke than adolescents not living under these circumstances, a new study finds.
The study found that adolescents living with mothers who currently smoke were nearly three times more likely to take up smoking than adolescents living with nonsmoking mothers (16.9% versus 5.8%). Similarly, adolescents living with mothers who have suffered from a major depressive episode in the past year were almost twice as likely to take up smoking as adolescents not living in that situation (14.3% versus 7.9%).
In addition, the study found that adolescents living with mothers who had a major depressive episode and were current smokers were more than four times more likely to smoke than adolescents living with mothers who had neither of these conditions (25.3% versus 5.6%).
More than one in four—25.6%—of adolescents live with mothers who currently smoke and nearly one in 10 adolescents—9.7%—live with mothers who have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. About one in 27 of all adolescents—3.7%—live with mothers with both of these conditions.
“These findings highlight factors that influence smoking among adolescents. It also suggests that prevention of smoking requires attention to multiple risk factors, including mental illness in the family,” said Pamela S. Hyde, JD, an administrator with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration which sponsored the study. “Knowing the factors that contribute to smoking helps to design and implement the best approach towards prevention and well-being.”