General Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Are children who grow up around second-hand smoke more likely to become addicted to tobacco?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (8998points) February 10th, 2011

Why or why not?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

36 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

They are more likely to smoke because the behavior has been positively modeled for them. If they are allowed to be around smokers, the environment hey are in tells the kids that smoking is okay.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Most of the kids I know feel the opposite way from what @zenvelo described (just personal info, no studies to cite, here). The parents almost invariably encourage them not to smoke; conversely, the children of non-smokers use it as a form of rebellion.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

You need to inhale the nicotine to get addicted…Most of that is already inhaled by the smoker and its stays in their lungs. So when they breath out, the only thing they release is the tobacco smoke and some of the other harmful chemicals. My friend did this test where he put a napkin against his lips and a lit cigarette. He inhaled, and the cigarette left a perfect little dark yellow circle on the napkin…he then put the napkin back against his lips and blew out…almost no yellow at all… where did it all go?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’m with both @JilltheTooth and @zenvelo. Just from personal experience. My mother is a lifelong chainsmoker, and she really never stressed to me that it was bad or that I shouldn’t do it. I smoke like a chimney.
However, I raised my sisters, and was adamant about telling them how horrible smoking is, and how it is such a burden – and the younger of the two (the one that I had considerably more influence over, compared to my parents) is disgusted by smoking. Same scenario with the smokers that I know. It wasn’t really an issue of their parents telling them not to, and those are the ones that turned out to be smokers.

Summum's avatar

I would think that statistics would show that more would be prone to smoking than not if they were raised around it. But I don’t know maybe they would dislike it more? Good question.

Neurotic_David's avatar

Interesting question!

I grew up surrounded by smokers. One of my most vivid childhood memories was a meeting of about 18 family members to plan for my father’s wedding. Every single person in the room (including my older sister) was smoking—except me.

Other than a 2-week period in 5th grade where I thought I’d be cool and smoke, I’ve never smoked a day in my life (and haven’t wanted to). No addiction here, despite my upbringing.

Summum's avatar

I’ve been lucky that way. I have never had even one cigarette in my mouth. It makes my head ache when I am around the smoke.

Summum's avatar

Here is a site that might answer your question.

glenjamin's avatar

My father smoked during most of my youth, and that was one of the reasons I picked up the habit, so in my case I would say yes. But it depends on the person, my wife grew up around it but thinks the habit is nasty and never had the desire to smoke. Her brother, on the other hand does smoke. So it really can go either way, but if I wasn’t exposed to it so much by my dad and other family members maybe I wouldn’t have been interested in picking up the habit. Other things influenced me as well though, including movies and peer pressure. Glad to say I have quit this terrible habit.

cazzie's avatar

My parents smoked. There were nine of us kids. I’m the only one who doesn’t and never have. Anecdotal, but it’s all I got. I don’t think they get addicted from the second hand smoke, so much as, like others have said, it’s a behavioural thing. Stupid sees and stupid does.

blueiiznh's avatar

I think there is much more that goes into it today that a generation or two ago.
Certainly there is greater influence to a child that grows up in a house that has parents smoking. However, the medical data and frowning on smoking is making it something that children are willing less and less to pick up no matter what the household conditions are.
I grew up in household where both parents smoked and with 5 siblings and none of us smoke.or have smoked.
I think it is a matter of becoming properly informed and making our own choices that has overridden the influence of parents who smoke.

Meego's avatar

My mother and father used to smoke when I was a child I always ran around the home saying “I hate that smell, I will never smoke!”. VoilĂ  I turn 15 and start like I had been smoking for years. I quit cold turkey at the most stressful time in my life 2 years ago I love that I can smell like my favourite scents of my now most addicted place Bath and Body Works instead of smelling like an old ash tray. I also want to say that I think some people are predisposed almost to being addicted to something, bad or good. Overindulgence can happen in any form, but when really is overindulging actually a habit or an obsession. Why are good habits ok, but not ok if overindulged like cleaning too much is an obsession and seen as negative…I don’t know it’s too complex for me.

cazzie's avatar

@Meego well done. What are your fav scents?

Meego's avatar

@cazzie Thank you! And most definatley number 1 is sensual amber, my husband used to love me to stand in front of the fan when i had that one on. lol. Also Sweet Pea. I am waiting to try the new spring scents. I also have Secret Wonderland but I’m actually not that fond of the perfume. Getting ready to try one or all (again I am addicted to the stuff I’m pretty sure it’s laced) of the new scents Hawaii coconut, Fiji passionfruit, Bali mango and the newest “Carried Away” scent.

cazzie's avatar

@Meego i must get my hands on these things to try them. I make a range of scents of my own and they are very popular, but I’m always interested in what people like.

ilana's avatar

It would seem logical, but my mum was a reasonably heavy smoker and I’ve never touched a cigarette in my life.

Buttonstc's avatar

I grew up with two chain smoking parents and spent my entire childhood miserable because of it. I was constantly being yelled at for having a window open in my room even in the middle of winter same thing for riding in the car “Roll up that window, dammit”

I just couldn’t stand the smell. It sickened me and gave me huge headaches and I have never been tempted to even try it, in spite of peer pressure in HS.

But I think that the far more likely scenario is that kids will most likely end up following in their parents’ footsteps.

I agree it’s far less a physical issue than a behavioral one.

Absent any strong influences in the opposite direction (such as education or allergy) most children growing up with smokers will end up as smokers themselves

Of course there are a few exceptions but I’m talking about the vast majority and my observations of friends of mine growing up.

Children learn what they live. For good or bad.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Buttonstc : I think the mind set of parents is different, now. Parents who smoke understand about the risks and harm, and tell their children not too. They didn’t used to, so children thought it was acceptable to emulate parents in that.

Buttonstc's avatar


You’re definitely correct about changing attitudes.

Unfortunately, as the statistics mentioned in that link, kids are less likely to respond to words as they are to actions.

As with many other issues in life, if parents are saying one thing but doing another (no matter how they attempt to disguise it) the words go in one ear and out the other.

Teens especially have a singular ability to ferret out the hypocrisy involved in the “do as I say, not as I do” approach. Little kids pick up on it too but teens give voice to it Many life decisions are made during those teen years.

Meego's avatar

@cazzie you make your own scents? Wow what kind?

tranquilsea's avatar

Both my parents were 3 pack a day smokers. My mother in particular always told us we’d be stupid if we started smoking. When I was 6 I used to walk around with a stick pretending to smoke. My mother decided to teach me a lesson and sat me at the end of our kitchen table, lit a cigarette and made me smoke it. I only got three puffs in before I was violently ill.

Although that was horrible parenting I became a non-smoker for life because of that.

Our family is 50/50. Fifty percent of us smoke and fifty percent don’t.

Buttonstc's avatar

It’s a good thing she did that to you at age 6.

Had she waited to do it until you were a teen, you very well might have been a smoker for life :)

tranquilsea's avatar

@Buttonstc lol I guess she should have done the same to my two older sisters.

Buttonstc's avatar

Who knows ? Even admittedly crappy parenting works sometimes :)

YARNLADY's avatar

I think I was addicted to cigarettes when I lived in my parents home, from breathing second hand smoke. I only smoked two cigarettes on my own, but I didn’t like them.

It seems likely that children from smoking homes would be more likely to smoke.

Garebo's avatar

If it wasn’t for school and athletics,I think his crazy f’d up friends would have him in jail a long time ago, or miserable.

perspicacious's avatar

@YARNLADY The question was if it would increase the likelihood of addiction, not whether they would grow up to smoke. Those are very different things.

YARNLADY's avatar

@perspicacious So are you saying the smoking cigarettes is not an addiction?

perspicacious's avatar

@YARNLADY Yes. Everyone who smokes cigarettes is not addicted to them. I smoke a cigarette from time to time because I like to. I am not addicted to them. I am not alone. The general American public has been brainwashed about smoking.

YARNLADY's avatar

@perspicacious OK, thanks for clarifying that.

Meego's avatar

@perspicacious I was addicted to ciggarettes I did not smoke casually or even because I liked them. I was honest to goodness addicted to the idea that they made me feel relief from stress. An addiction could be addressed in many different fashions. There are varying degrees of addiction, and yes you can be casually addicted to something. Why do you have to smoke at all, even casually? As long as you use any mood altering substance to help you through any part of normal living on any more than a one time basis…hate to say but yeah thats an addiction. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

perspicacious's avatar

@Meego Honey, I didn’t say anything about mood altering. You are speaking about yourself there. This question is about tobacco addiction. If you want to think that you are addicted to steak because you like to have one every now and then that’s fine. You don’t know the definition of addiction.

Buttonstc's avatar

So precisely what IS the definition of addiction ? Is there one universally accepted one upon which all authorities agree ?


Since you are challenging someone else’s viewpoint, don’t you think you should enlighten ALL of us with your knowledge of what addiction is or is not ?

Please do enlighten us.

Meego's avatar

@perspicacious ok so if you don’t smoke for any sort of mood altering euphoric reason, then again I’ll ask why do you smoke? Do you like the smell, the taste? Do you do it to look cool? What is your point of smoking? Considering we all know the ill effects of cigarettes and that they are harmful and that is no joking matter or even because society has decided to make us fear cigarettes. And again you can be addicted to anything, you mentioned steak but yeah food is an addiction for some people and it depends on the indulgence for some. There are good and bad addictions but even when you don’t want to “notice”, it becomes a full addiction when you can’t stop the “routine” of it all. Maybe you are just not addicted to the actual nicotine.
So if your not addicted then I challenge you to kick the habit full on cold turkey never to put another smoke to your lips challenge not even one cigarette a week. At least you will be healthier, and I might just be able to save a life in name of my dad.
RIP 01–21-2009
Here is a real study about it:

machine_frog's avatar

i picked up the habit of smoking through my friend at the age of seventeen, same friend grew up around a heavvy smoker.on the contrary my parents don’t smoke, in fact they have asked me to stop the nonsense.
“yes and no” this is a difficult one i must say.

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