Engaging schools and families in tobacco prevention and control
Cigarette smoking is a learned behaviour reinforced by nicotine addiction which begins at an early age. The influences that contribute to the formation of this behaviour include those of parents, siblings, peers and role models, the latter usually exerted through the mass media. Parents who are smokers have children who are more likely to smoke, and nicotine predisposes a foetus at the very beginning of life. Smokers’ children are likely to be influenced by their behaviour and become cigarette smokers as they grow up. Control and reduction of parental smoking is therefore crucial in the prevention of smoking by children (Department of Health and Human Services, 1989). Dr Gregory Tsang’s paper, ‘The family: The key to tobacco control’ (this volume) proposes that the family should be targeted to reduce the prevalence of smoking among young people in China. This is in line with Confucious’ teaching that one should correct one’s own behaviour before correcting family behaviour and righting the wrongs of the world. In order to put Dr Tsang’s proposal into effect, however, we need an effective method of stopping adults from smoking. Educating shildren at an early age to persuade their parents to stop smoking is clever and could work well in China, where there is a policy of one child per family and the health of that only child is highly valued by parents and other members of the family.
KeywordsYoung People Tobacco Control Media Campaign Tobacco Industry Parental Smoking
- Department of Health and Human Services (1989) Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking: 25 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General (DHHS Publcation No. (CDC) 89-8411), Washington DC: US Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar