Strict Parents Prevent Teens From Smoking, Study Finds

Apparently, stricter parents don't always cause their kids to rebel. According to a new study out of Georgetown University, people who were raised by traditionally "authoritative" and "structured" parents are less likely to smoke cigarettes. Researchers surveyed middle schoolers from diverse backgrounds and told Reuters Health that unlike many other studies that are conducted on the same subject matter in white middle class neighborhoods, this one focused in on an “urban multi-ethnic low-income school district.”

"Setting and enforcing clear standards of behavior and actively monitoring and supervising a teen's activities are important strategies for protecting youth from risky behavior," lead researcher Cassandra Stanton said. "To protect youth from experimenting with tobacco and ultimately developing an addiction to tobacco, it is important to talk about the risks of tobacco, as well as set and enforce clear rules and consequences that are specific to tobacco."

Despite the known health risks, a 2012 report from the U.S. Surgeon General shows that one in three young adults reports smoking at least once in the past 30 days. The majority of lifetime smokers pick up the habit before 18-years-old, so strict parenting might not be a bad call in this case.

Back in November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that tobacco use among young adults is one percentage point lower than it was in 2011 — 6.7 percent of middle and 23.3 percent of high school students report smoking. But alternative tobacco outlets like hookahs and e-cigarettes are on the rise. Last year, 5.4 percent of high school students said they used hookahs at least once a month, compared to 4.1 percent in 2011. 2.8 percent of high school students reported trying e-cigarettes, which is also a 1.3 percent increase from 2011.

"These findings show why it is urgent that the FDA move forward with plans to regulate all tobacco products, including cigars and e-cigarettes," said Susan Liss, executive director of the National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

So parents might want to think about all different kinds of tobacco usage when they talk to their kids about smoking — cigarettes aren’t the only danger to worry about. Or, they could always try this approach.