New Study Links Children of Divorce & Cigarette Smoking

Posted on Apr 14, 2013

A new study has found that people with divorced or separated parents are more likely to become smokers at some point in their adult lives. However, the new divorce research was not able to explain why these children are more likely to pick up a cigarette or be drawn into the habit of smoking. 

According to The Atlantic and US News & World Report, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto found that the chances of smoking 100 or more cigarettes increased 48 percent for the sons of divorcees and 39 percent for the daughters of divorcees. The study, which surveyed 19,000 Americans, corrected for other factors, including depression, anxiety, and education level. However, it did not go as far as proving why the children of divorced or separated parents might be more drawn to cigarette use or nicotine addiction—either as a coping mechanism or as a way to rebel. 

The study focused on people who were under the age of 18 when their parents divorced or separated. 

"Finding this link between parental divorce and smoking is very disturbing," said study lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson. "Each of these characteristics has been shown in other studies to be linked with smoking initiation. However, even when we took all these factors into account, a strong and significant association between parental divorce and smoking remained."

It is important to note that this study did not uncover information on whether the children of parents in unhappy marriages were more likely to smoke in the future—so the correlation between divorce and smoking may not be evidence enough to forgo a divorce for the sake of your children’s lung health. 

For more information on this, or help with your own child custody needs, contact family law attorney Molly B. Kenny today: 425-460-0550.

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