Smoking among young children in Hong Kong: influence of parental smoking


A.Y. Loke:


loke a.y. & wong y.p.i. (2010) Smoking among young children in Hong Kong: influence of parental smoking. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(12), 2659–2670.


Aims.  This paper is a report of a study comparing children with smoking parents and those with non-smoking parents, in terms of knowledge and attitude towards smoking and the influence of parents and peers on smoking initiation.

Background.  Adolescence is a developmental stage when smoking habits are likely to start. Adolescents are most influenced by the smoking habits of their parents and friends.

Method.  A cross-section study was conducted with students aged 13–15 years in two schools in 2008, using a questionnaire that collected information on the smoking habits of their parents and peers, knowledge and attitude towards smoking, initiation and inclination towards smoking. Chi-square tests and binary logistic regression were used to analyse the data.

Results.  A total of 257 of 575 (44·7%) students had smoking parent(s), and 25·4% reported having peers who smoked. Children with non-smoking parents were more likely than those with smoking parents to consider ‘smoking as disgusting’ (67·3% vs. 45·9%), and to know that ‘smoking is addictive’ (80·5% vs. 70·4%) and ‘harmful to health’ (81·8% vs. 67·7%). More of those with smoking parents had tried smoking than those with non-smoking parents (13·2% vs. 3·8%).

Conclusion.  Preventive programmes should involve smoking parents to increase their awareness of the impact their smoking has on their children. Interventions should include problem-solving skills for children to deal with daily stresses and thus eradicate the potential risk of smoking initiation.