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Smoking habits might be passed down along gender lines: Study

Smoking habits are passed down from parents to kids along gender lines, according to a new study published in the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics.

"Fathers transmit their smoking habits to a statistically significant level to their sons, and the same is true of mothers and daughters. However, if a mother smokes it does not seem to impact on the probability of her son smoking, and similarly a father that smokes does not affect his daughter," Maria Loureiro, a researcher at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, and co-author of the study said in a release.

The study was based on information found in the British Household Panel Survey which, according to researchers, provides detailed information on smoking habits within households.

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"The results obtained show that, in terms of smoking habits, after taking socio-economic variables into account, daughters tend to imitate their mothers, while sons imitate their [fathers]," Dr. Loureiro said.

Indeed, there's no doubt that kids are more likely to become smokers if their parents smoke, according to the study. Sons are 24 per cent more likely to be a smoker if both his parents smoke, but only 12 per cent if neither parent smokes. Daughters have a 23 per cent chance of being smokers if both parents smokes but only 12 per cent of neither parent smokes.

"These results have clear importance in terms of designing public policies to combat smoking. Policies that are successful in reducing smoking habits among parents will also affect their children. Anti-smoking policies for young people need to be put in place that will also include the family and social context in which they live," Dr. Loureiro said.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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