The Social and Physiological Effects of Parental Smoking on Youth Addiction: The Case of Brazil

Laeticia R. de Souza, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth - United Nations Development Program

Brazil is a singularity in the smoking epidemic spreading across low and medium income countries. Smoking prevalence rates by age are concave downward suggesting that anti-smoking campaigns launched beginning in 1989 are making a dent among the youth, the population's most vulnerable sector. Can this feature of Brazilian smoking behavior be sustained? The answer depends on several factors, including the scope and continued efficiency of the anti-smoking campaigns, education improvements and the degree to which youth smoking is propped by network of peers, sibling imitation and parental influence. We use nationally representative data to examine the association between parental and sibling’s (alter) smoking as well as the smoking of youngsters aged 15 to 25 (ego) living in the same households. Our preliminary findings indicate that the relative risks of smoking among ego’s (whose alters smoke) are surprisingly high (reaching 2.4). Our main objective is to identify the mechanisms producing it.

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Presented in Session 3: Health Behaviors