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Parents, Friends Influence Teen Smoking

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Occasional teen smokers whose parents smoke and provide minimal supervision have a 71-percent chance of becoming daily smokers, while children of nonsmokers who are closely supervised face just a 31-percent chance of becoming addicted to cigarettes, according to a new study.

Reuters reported Aug. 26 that researchers who tracked 270 teens who smoked occasionally before high school found that 58 percent of the study subjects became daily smokers by their senior year. The smoking habits of parents and friends had a strong influence on whether the teens kept smoking or not, the authors said.

Lead researcher Min Jung Kim of the University of Washington said that parents can break their teens’ progression from occasional to addicted smoker by quitting themselves and engaging in “effective supervision and appropriate punishment or rewards for children’s behavior.”

The study was published in the September 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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