Parents who smoke or have been smoking in the past are more likely to get their daughters vaccinated against HPV, a new study claims.
The study results, on correlates of HPV vaccine use, found parents' choice to vaccinate their daughters was more closely associated with certain behavioural factors of the parents instead of one's background or medical history.
Lead researcher Carolyn Y. Fang, Ph.D., associate professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, said: "Whether or not respondents indicated that they would vaccinate their daughters against this cancer-causing virus was associated with physical activity, non-use of complementary or alternative therapies and, more surprisingly, cigarette smoking."
The experts at Cancer Center and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey/UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School used information from the 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute at Fox Chase to analyze cross-sectional survey data from more than 1,300 U.S. parents or guardians of female children or adolescents (under the age of 18).
They observed that about 18 percent of the participants would not have their daughter receive the HPV vaccine, while 25 percent were undecided and more than half (about 58 percent) reported they would let their daughter get the vaccine.
It was noted that those who were more accepting of the vaccine were current or former smokers, who had engaged in health promoting behaviors such as physical activity within the past month.
Fang added: "Some prior research suggests that risky health behaviors tend to co-occur (i.e., smoking, alcohol use) and are associated with lower uptake of harm prevention strategies, such as vaccinations. This was not the case in the current study.
"It may be that parents who are former or current smokers have a heightened awareness of cancer and its related risks, therefore, they may be more willing to vaccinate their daughters to prevent cancer.
"Parents' existing health habits and patterns of behavior are likely to contribute to their decisions regarding the uptake of cancer prevention strategies for their children."
The study has been published in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.