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Study: children of divorce more likely to smoke

Divorced parents often worry about how their separation has impacted their children. Divorced parents may want to discuss the negative health effects of smoking with their children according to a new study's finding about the implications divorce has on a child's risk of smoking in the future.

Children with divorced parents are more likely to smoke cigarettes before age 18, according to a new study by the University of Toronto. The study found that male children with divorced parents were 48 percent more likely to smoke cigarettes during their lifetime compared to children with married parents. Female children were 39 percent more likely to smoke during their lifetime, the study said.

Researchers said they could not identify why children with divorced parents were more likely to start smoking. They suggested that a few theories point to children trying to cope with their parent's separation and use smoking as a way to relieve stress from their family situation.

The researchers said they would like to continue studying smoking in children of divorce to determine what specific factors cause them to have a higher risk of smoking later on in life. If future research can pinpoint the reasons children with divorced parents are more likely to smoke, programs and increased education can focus on children with parents divorcing to try and reduce their chances of smoking.

Parents have many considerations to make while going through the divorce process. It is best to consult with a divorce attorney to discuss what specific issues to address as well as what steps parents can take to reduce the impact on their child's life.

Source: Health Central, "Divorce drives kids to smoke," March 15, 2013

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