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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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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