Adolescents aged 12 to 17 living with mothers who are current smokers or who have had a major depressive episode in the past year, are more likely to smoke, a new study has said.
The study was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of its strategic initiative on data and outcomes - an effort to create integrated data systems that help inform policy makers and providers on behavioural health issues.
The new study shows that adolescents living with mothers who currently smoke were nearly three times more likely to take up smoking than adolescents living with non-smoking mothers (16.9 percent versus 5.8 percent).
Similarly, adolescents living with mothers who have suffered from a major depressive episode in the past year were almost twice as likely to take up smoking as adolescents not living in that situation (14.3 percent versus 7.9 percent).
In addition the study revealed adolescents living with mothers who had a major depressive episode and were current smokers were more than four times more likely to smoke than adolescents living with mothers who had neither of these conditions (25.3 percent versus 5.6 percent).
More than 1 in 4 (25.6 percent) of adolescents live with mothers who currently smoke and nearly 1 in 10 adolescents (9.7 percent) live with mothers who have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.
About 1 in 27 (3.7 percent) of all adolescents live with mothers with both of these conditions.
"These findings highlight factors that influence smoking among adolescents. It also suggests that prevention of smoking requires attention to multiple risk factors, including mental illness in the family," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
"Knowing the factors that contribute to smoking helps to design and implement the best approach towards prevention and well-being," she added.
These new data occur against the backdrop of an overall decline in past month smoking rates among adolescents -- from 13.0 percent in 2002 to 9.3 percent in 2008.
Despite this progress, however, an estimated 1.4 million persons aged 11 to 17 started smoking in the in the past 12 months.