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Parental smoking and pretend smoking in young children
  1. Rebecca N H de Leeuw,
  2. Rutger C M E Engels,
  3. Ron H J Scholte
  1. Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Rebecca N H de Leeuw, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands; r.deleeuw{at}bsi.ru.nl

Abstract

Objective To investigate whether parental smoking was associated with smoking-related play behaviour in young children.

Design Children were asked to pretend that they were grown-ups having dinner. They were invited to act out this situation in a play corner with a toy kitchen and a child-sized dining area, including a package of fake cigarettes on the table.

Setting Children were tested individually at their school during regular school hours.

Participants The sample consisted of 100 children between 4 and 8 years of age (mean=5.28, SD=0.94) of which 57% were boys. The majority of the children were born in The Netherlands (99%).

Measurements The main outcome measure was whether or not a child pretended to be smoking a cigarette. Child and parent reports were used to assess parental smoking.

Findings Findings revealed that 37% of the children had at least one ‘puff’ during their play. Children were more likely to pretend to smoke if they reported having smoking parents (OR=3.16, p=0.02; 95% CI=1.22 to 8.18). Analyses for the model with parent reports on parental smoking did not yield any direct association. Children's explicit attitudes were unrelated to their smoking-related play behaviour.

Conclusions These findings indicate that young children, who reported having parents who smoke, already associate having dinner with a (after-dinner) cigarette.

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Footnotes

  • Funding This study was funded by the Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen and the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF: 2006-3464).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committee of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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