A new study has found that when tweens spend a lot of time around people who smoke, they are more likely to become smokers themselves when they become teenagers.
The study from Concordia University and the University of Montreal looked at 327 pre-teens. Those who watched repeatedly as their parents, siblings, friends or neighbors sucking down those cigarettes were likely to smoke as well.
"Kids who see others smoking are more likely to take up the habit because they don't perceive cigarettes as unhealthy," said lead study author Simon Racicot of the Concordia University Department of Psychology.
Previous studies have shown that the children of smokers are likely to become smokers. But this study may be the first of its kind to show a physical desire for cigarettes.
"To our knowledge, this is one of first studies to show how increased exposure to second-hand smoke leads to youth who've never smoked to report having symptoms of nicotine dependence, such as craving cigarettes and finding it hard to go without smoking," Racicot said.
The findings were published in the Oxford journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.