All in the Family British Style: Does Family Smoking Cause British Youth to Smoke?

Laura Fumagalli, University of Essex

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in every developed economy. Recent policy debates tend to focus on how to prevent youth from starting. Embedded in these debates is a stylized (but unestablished) assumption - that parental smoking causes youth to be more likely to take up smoking. We use data from the British Household Panel Study to estimate whether parental smoking causes children to be more likely to take up smoking. We estimate models with rich controls for family smoking behavior. We also estimate IV models that control for the choice of mothers, fathers, and older siblings to smoke. The results reject the naive assumption. We find that not only are children of smokers not induced to smoke if their parents smoked but that they are much *less* likely to smoke if they grew up with a smoking parent. We present evidence of why this effect is found.

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Presented in Session 116: Policies that Influence Smoking and Alcohol Use: Consequences for Child Well-being