According to a recent study from Nicotine and Tobacco Research, “parents who quit smoking may be less likely to relapse when they discuss the dangers of cigarettes with their children.” The year-long study followed 700 ex-smokers with children.
During the study, “half of the parents received a series of mailers with educational materials explaining the risks of tobacco and activities to help them discuss these dangers with their children. The other parents served as a control group and didn’t get any help. After one year, the parents supported by mail were twice as likely to still be abstinent.”
Originally, the study was to determine whether parents prompted to talk about cigarettes with their kids might help prevent their children from smoking making the outcomes of the study interesting to lead study author Christine Jackson.
Due to the strange final results, Jackson theorized that “talking to kids helped parents cement their own identities as non-smokers, or the conversations created a feeling of cognitive dissonance that made it difficult for participants to advocate against smoking while being smokers themselves.” In addition to Jackson’s theory, the findings also suggest that “parents may reinforce what they know about the benefits of smoking cessation by teaching these lessons to their children.”