Top of page
Global Site Navigation

School of Exercise and Health Sciences

Local Section Navigation
You are here: Main Content

Parental smoking cessation and children’s smoking attitudes and behaviours

Evidence suggests that targeting parental smoking cessation can be an effective method of reducing adolescent smoking, particularly if parental smoking cessation occurs before their child reaches nine years of age. The goal of this formative research project was to determine effective strategies and messages for use with parents of young children to help them to quit smoking and to communicate more frequently and effectively with their children about smoking. Emphasis was placed on parent-based communication interventions for socially disadvantaged families of junior primary school age children (prior to the age of nine).

In the first year of the study, data were collected from a convenience sample of 46 parents/carers of primary school aged children via focus groups and interviews. Participants were parents/carers of children aged four to nine years and currently smoked, used to smoke or lived with someone who smoked. Participants were asked their opinions about smoking cessation; ways to discourage children from smoking and features of the proposed intervention materials. Results showed parents wanted their child to stay smoke-free, however, many felt they would have little influence on whether or not their child smoked in the future and those who smoked felt hypocritical talking with their child about smoking.

Data obtained were used to develop pilot versions of intervention materials. Feedback on these materials and preferred settings and channels for receiving information about smoking cessation and their child was obtained, in the second year of the project, from a convenience sample of 104 parents/carers who smoked/used to smoke/or lived with someone who smoked and cared for a child aged 4-8 years.

The outcome of the project was to develop, in consultation with parents and stakeholders, a ‘portfolio’ of interventions to help parents who smoke, and have young children, to quit smoking and communicate with their children about smoking. The key message was “Pass on your Wisdom, not your Habit.” A further outcome was a ‘toolkit’ for health professionals to enhance the effectiveness and consistency of implementation of these interventions. The intervention included a Pamphlet for parents; a Poster; a brief Guide to using Motivational interviewing to help Health Professionals talk with parents/carers about smoking and; a Reminder Card for Health Professionals using Motivational Interviewing techniques with parents/carers. These materials were disseminated by the Child and Adolescent Health Service via all Child Health Nurses in WA; the Health Department Health Networks Branch and also to WA stakeholders in tobacco harm reduction.

Project Duration


Funding Body


For further information about this project please contact Dr Robyn Johnston:


Professor Donna Cross
Mrs Felicity Stephens
Dr Lydia Hearn
Mrs Sharon Bell
Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch, New Zealand, Dr Greg Hamilton
Dr Shelley Beatty
Curtin University, Dr Krassi Rumchev
Curtin University, Ms Delia Hendrie

Skip to top of page