Changes in parental smoking behavior and children's health status in Chile

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Studies on parental smoking behavior have mostly been conducted for developed countries and show that current parental smoking is negatively associated with children's current health. Using four waves of a Chilean longitudinal survey (Encuesta de Protección Social), we estimate probit and ordinary least squares models relating parents' self-report of their children's current health status to several covariates, including current parental smoking status and change (transitions) in parental smoking status across the waves of the survey. The data were collected in the years 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2015. The working sample includes 25,052 observations. The study revealed that parents' self-report of their children's current health status is strongly associated with current and past parental smoking status. Parents who smoke have an increased 11.17% probability of reporting that their children are in fair, poor, or very poor health status, when compared to non-smoking parents. The effect is stronger if the smoker is the mother, and it is exacerbated if she is less educated or unemployed/inactive. In addition, quitting smoking has a significant positive effect on children's reported health status, which is greater if the mother quits smoking. Cessation among mothers who are unemployed or inactive is also associated with a more positive assessment of their children's health status. The findings suggest that cessation programs may have health benefits not only for smoking parents, but also for their children. Improving coverage or establishing a national cessation program may have important present and future effects on population health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106792
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Chile
  • Parental smoking
  • Smoking transitions
  • children's health


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