Contrary to the notion of the rebellious teenager who spurns parental guidance in favor of peer influence, new study findings suggest that adolescents who think their parents disapprove of smoking are less likely to pick up the habit. Teens are much less likely to smoke if they think their parents disapprove of the habit. Parental disapproval works even if the parents are smokers.
Parents often perceive there is little they can do about adolescent smoking, and the study has contributed to this by emphasizing the effects of peers on adolescent smoking. This study offers hope by suggesting that parents can decrease the chances their children will smoke by communicating that they feel strongly their children should not smoke and doing this consistently over time.
Teens who believed that their parents would strongly disapprove of smoking were less likely to become smokers than their peers who believed that neither parent would disapprove. And the effect of parental disapproval remained significant even if the parents were smokers themselves. Adolescents who had a sibling or friend who smoked and those who performed poorly in school were more likely to become smokers than their peers.