Children of divorced parents are more likely to start smoking than those of families united, according to a new study from the University of Toronto conducted with 19 000 Americans.
The study, published in the internet edition of the journal “Public Health”, reveals that men who have seen their parents divorce before they reached the age of 18 years were 48 % more likely to smoke 100 or more cigarettes than those living in a family where the parents remained together.
On the side of women, those from a family where the parents were divorced were at 39 % greater risk of smoking than those from intact families.
“The link between divorce and smoking is very disturbing,” said the author of the study, Esme Fuller-Thomson, of the faculty of social sciences of the University of Toronto.
The researchers, who are based on data from centre of disease prevention, were not able to establish how parental divorce is related to the initiation to cigarette smoking.
However, they suggest that smoking may be a coping mechanism designed to regulate emotions and stress.
Further studies will however be needed to determine the causes and develop prevention programs.